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Brave Carol looks to the future

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:19 07 July 2010

Carol Mellows will forever have two dates etched in her memory.

June 13, 2007 - the day she was told that she had breast cancer - and July 5, 2008 - the day she broke her neck doing a tandem skydive for a charity that helped her through her cancer treatment.

Carol Mellows will forever have two dates etched in her memory.

June 13, 2007 - the day she was told that she had breast cancer - and July 5, 2008 - the day she broke her neck doing a tandem skydive for a charity that helped her through her cancer treatment.

But the mother-of-three, from Bridgham, is now looking forward to the future after being told that she no longer has the 'big C' and is on course to make an almost full recovery from an accident that almost left her permanently paralysed.

The 53-year-old teaching assistant returned to work at Abbey Junior School in Thetford last week following the incident at Old Buckenham airfield three months ago, which left her with a dislocated neck and two fractured vertebrae.

Mrs Mellows, who received a lumpectomy and radiotherapy cancer treatment last year, said she always wanted to do a skydive and wanted to give something back to the Big C Centre in Norwich, which was “absolutely brilliant” after her diagnosis.

But as the fundraiser came into land during a 10,000ft tandem skydive on July 5, a sudden gust of wind propelled her and her instructor crashing into the ground.

The accident left Mrs Mellows with breaks to her C4 and C5 vertebrae, which required two operations to repair with metal plates and pins. She spent 16 days at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital before being allowed to walk out on crutches and is expected to make a 90pc recovery over the next 12 months.

She also received the news while in hospital that she had been given the all clear from the cancer.

Mrs Mellows said the last 18 month had made her appreciate life more and she would like to do more fundraising events for the Big C charity, but no more skydives.

“Both experiences were very similar, but with cancer you do not know if it is going to come back, which is incredibly scary.”

“I just know that whatever happens to me that God is there and I am trusting him in the future. I do not think I could have managed without my faith and my family and friends have been marvellous. It has changed my priorities and I have realised that life and is not about what you get, it is about what you can give,” she said.

Mrs Mellows added that said she placed no blame on the instructors at Old Buckenham airfield for the accident. She raised just over £1,000 for the cancer charity and the Fresh Start Foundation in Gambia from the event.

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