A grandmother from Caerphilly who has overcome four life-threatening illnesses has joined a unique health research initiative in Wales to help fight major diseases and is urging others to do the same.
Lynne Harris, aged 54, has signed up to HealthWise Wales, a flagship Welsh study aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the nation to inform future healthcare treatments in Wales.
It is the first large-scale survey in Wales to build a picture of the health of the nation, using detailed health information gathered from people of all ages to help inform future health service planning.
People aged 16 and over and living in Wales are asked to complete short questionnaires as part of the project, which is led by Cardiff University and backed by the Welsh Government.
Once registered, participants are then invited to help inform relevant health research on specific conditions, their management and treatment.
Lynne's health issues began eight years ago when she developed sepsis after undergoing an operation. Two years later, aged 48, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment from the NHS.
Lynne attended a cancer support group offered at St. David's, where she had the opportunity to meet others and share her experience. She also received counselling throughout her treatment, which she found helpful.
However, the drug used to treat her breast cancer caused a fibroid in her womb to increase, resulting in Lynne having to have a hysterectomy. Adding to this, as a result of the operation Lynne developed diabetes. Due to these health issues, Lynne now does everything she can to lead a healthy lifestyle.
She now volunteers twice a week, works part-time and is a special guardian to her seven-year-old granddaughter. She said: "Having a range of very serious illnesses does make you more aware of your health, so I'm now trying to be healthy as possible.
"I'm pleased to say I've been able to overcome some of my health challenges, but the more people like me who volunteer their information to research like this, the more this will affect health decision-making in the future.
"I signed up to HealthWise Wales because I'm interested in my experiences shaping research and helping me to be healthier. I'd encourage others to sign-up, to help the NHS in Wales be more aware of what people think and how they experience health issues."