LEANN and Roxanne Charlett’s grandfather is fighting the same cancer which killed their father two years ago.

But the sisters, from Yarnton, are refusing to succumb to grief, and last weekend joined 6,500 other women raising money to find a cure in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life.

Women, girls and toddlers formed a sea of pink as far as the eye could see as this year’s mammoth Race for Life snaked its way around the University Parks on Sunday.

Leann, 29, and Roxanne, 30, were taking part for the first time in the 5k charity event.

Single mum of three Leann said: “We would have loved to have done Race for Life last year, but we were still so upset after losing our dad.

“But this year we were determined to do it and it was fabulous. And seeing all those women wearing back plaques about their own relatives who have died made us feel warm and glad that we were lucky to have had such an amazing dad.”

Leann and Roxanne’s father Gary Charlett died on June 27, 2009, aged just 54.

The former JR Hospital maintenance worker battled lymphoma in 2004 before developing secondary cancer of the bowel in 2008.

Despite chemotherapy, doctors were unable to save him.

Engaged mum of two Roxanne said: “Even when the doctors told dad there was nothing more they could do, he just joked: ‘Well lay me down and fill me with Smarties!’ “He was always laughing and joking, and not even cancer could stop him.”

In a second tragedy for the family, their paternal grandfather Dennis Charlett, 84, from Kidlington, was also diagnosed with bowel cancer the week before Christmas last year.

Leann said: “It was a terrible shock, but grampy is a proud man and has said he is too old for any treatment, and we have to respect that, although it is hard. He was very proud to hear about us doing Race for Life though.”

  • A disabled woman said her dream of taking part in the race came true when she was inundated with people offering to push her around the course.

Julie Ball, 41, who suffers from a spinal condition which leaves her almost permanently wheelchair-bound, feared she would have to drop out when her helper broke her elbow.

But Mrs Ball, from Aston Tirrold, said she had 18 offers of help after an appeal was published in the Oxford Mail.