A BASINGSTOKE woman who was told she had cancer the day she was set to fly to New York for a holiday of a lifetime will be guest of honour at Race for Life on Sunday.

Naomi Brown, 27, suffered unusual symptoms that felt like sinusitis and a loss of sensation in her face two months before she was due to take the trip in November that her husband Adam, 28, had won in a competition.

She double checked she would be safe to fly with her GP who advised her to take some Sudafed.

But on the morning the couple were due to leave, Naomi woke up to discover her eye was swollen shut and she couldn’t open it. She was rushed to A&E at Basingstoke hospital, where she was told she could not travel.

Naomi, of Sherborne Fields, Popley, said: “Although I’d realised the trip was unlikely I was still upset as we’d been planning it for months. Initially they thought it was an allergic reaction so although I was concerned, I wasn’t overly worried.”

But following a series of tests, Naomi was told it could be cancer, and a tumour was pressing against the optical nerve. She said: “The day before I’d been looking forward to going on our dream holiday and now I was being told there was a chance I had cancer. It just didn’t sink in.”

Naomi had surgery at Frimley Park hospital, and tests later confirmed she had a rare soft tissue cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Around 40 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.

She had been referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where she was told the cancer was very aggressive and had already grown back to its original size in the three weeks since the surgery.

Naomi began chemotherapy and was told to stop working as deputy manager of a nursery because her immunity would be low. Fortunately Naomi has responded well to treatment and her tumour has shrunk rapidly.

On June 6 she had surgery to remove the final five per cent of her tumour and will soon begin radiotherapy and a final cycle of chemotherapy.

This Sunday Naomi will be joined by a team of nine family and friends to form a self-styled ‘Naomi’s Army’ at Basingstoke Race for Life 5k at Down Grange Sports Complex. Naomi will also take to the stage before the event to inspire participants.

To sponsor Naomi’s Army please visit justgiving.com/fundraising/naomibrowncan.