"I"ve been given a second chance": Cancer survivor who shed EIGHT STONE in seven months crowned Slimming World"s "Miss Slinky…

'I've been given a second chance': Cancer survivor who shed EIGHT STONE in seven months is crowned Slimming World's 'Miss Slinky 2012'

A cancer survivor who was inspired to lose nearly half her body weight has been named Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2012.

Emma Parker, 20, shed more than 8st after believing she had been given a second chance at life.

In August 2010, aged 18 and already unhappy with her weight, the customer services adviser from Jacksdale, Nottinghamshire, was devastated when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

 Emma Parker

Emma Parker

Slimmer of the year: Emma Parker dropped seven dress sizes and shed more than eight stone after she beat cancer

 Emma Parker

Time for a change: Emma Parker was a size 22 and weighed more than 18st when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010

But when doctors confirmed she was
beating the disease, she decided to join her local Slimming World group
and managed to lose 8st 3.5lb and drop seven dress sizes in just seven
months.

Miss Parker
said: 'Having Hodgkin's lymphoma made me realise how important life is
and not to take things like your health for granted.

'I wanted to be as healthy as I could so that if anything ever happened again I would be fitter and stronger, and I wanted to change everything that made me unhappy, which my weight definitely did.'

Emma Parker

New lease of life: Emma plans to spend her 2,000 winnings on a new size 10 wardrobe

Miss Parker, who lives with her parents and works for the Co-operative Group, was overweight from the age of eight or nine.

At
her heaviest she weighed more than 18st and found even simple tasks
like cleaning, walking the dog or climbing stairs left her out of breath
and her joints aching.

Then, 18 months ago, she discovered a lump in her neck and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

 Emma Parker

New lease of life: After undergoing 12 gruelling
chemotherapy sessions and a biopsy, Emma was delighted when doctors
decided she did not need further treatment and decided to embark on a weight loss programme

She went on: 'I never tried any diets because I didn't believe they'd work for me and I thought I'd always be big.

'My auntie was going to Slimming World and every time I saw her she looked better and better.

'Now I've lost weight I feel so much fitter and healthier and I don't get out of breath any more – even when I go jogging.'

After
undergoing 12 gruelling chemotherapy sessions and a biopsy, she was
delighted when doctors decided she did not need further treatment and,
with her doctor's approval, she started her weight loss journey by
joining her local Slimming World group in Leabrooks, Alfreton, in March
last year.

Emma Parker, 20, and her boyfriend Niall Trengove

Happy times: Emma, pictures with her boyfriend Niall Trengove

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Healthy eating plan: Emma replaced
takeaways and fatty foods with healthy home-cooked meals including chilli con carne and rice

'I lost 4lb in my first week and that's when I knew I could really do it, because I realised I could lose weight without feeling like I was missing out on the things I like.'

Her group voted for her to represent them in Slimming World's Miss Slinky 2012 competition and now she has been named the national winner she plans to spend her 2,000 winnings on a new size 10 wardrobe.

Miss Parker, who is hoping to be able to celebrate being given the all-clear for a year next month, added: 'Losing weight hasn't just changed the way I look, it's changed my whole outlook on life.

'I'm so much happier now and I believe I can achieve anything I want to. I feel that after having cancer, I've been given a second chance and I want to make the most of it.'