THE brother of a woman who is terminally ill - following misdiagnosis and delays - is taking on an extreme charity challenge.

Justine Jianikos, from Pontypool, went to her doctor in March 2020 as she was showing symptoms of breast cancer.

She returned in May with concerns about a lump and her GP referred her to a breast clinic where she was told it was fatty lump tissue and nothing to fear.

The mother-of-three contacted her GP again in September as the lump had changed and she was referred to the breast clinic and told there was three-month waiting list.

On December 21 her biopsy results confirmed that she has stage four triple negative breast cancer, which has spread to her spine, lymp nodes and - most likely - her lungs. She'd not previously been given a biopsy as she'd been 29 at the time.

Ms Jianikos said she is now on 'borrowed time' with her plans for life 'robbed' but has been overwhelmed by the support of loved ones, and the public, in raising money for life-extending treatment to allow her to make memories with her three daughters Josie, Halle, and Ruby.

Justine with her daughters Halle, Josie and Ruby (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Justine with her daughters Halle, Josie and Ruby (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Her older brother, 37-year-old Mike Francis is no exception in showing his support; he will be completing five marathons in five days - equating to 131 miles over 120 hours - to raise money for his younger sister's treatment, and to spread awareness of breast cancer.

The extreme charity challenge is a first for Mr Francis who will be joined by firefighter (and former royal marine) Rhys Richards, and Jon Hibbins, in completing a daily marathon from Wednesday April 14 to Sunday April 18.

Mr Francis, who has been training hard and has increased his food consumption, said: “Our family is trying to stay positive for Justine, trying to make things as normal as possible.

“The running has helped me – I tend to run when something is bothering me, so why not use this to raise money and awareness?

"I've done my research and some people have done mammoth challenges [such as Dean Karnazes who completed 50 marathons in 50 days] so I'm quite confident.

“I’m a bit nervous, but that’s more about injuries. Unless something snaps, I won’t stop.”

A fundraising group #Jus Do It has been set-up on Facebook and Mr Francis' fundraising page for this challenge is available here.

Siblings Mike Francis and Justine Jianikos (Picture: Mike Francis)

Siblings Mike Francis and Justine Jianikos (Picture: Mike Francis)

Mr Francis is 'overwhelmed' by the response from the public; he's already raised more than £23,000 with a goal amount of £50,000.

“I went quite big with my goal amount, as I didn’t know what to expect but people have been amazing,” said Mr Francis.

“We’re overwhelmed by how generous people are and thankful to everyone for their support.”

Along with raising money for life-extending treatment, Mr Francis hopes the challenge will spread awareness. Cancer that's diagnosed at an early stage is more likely to be treated successfully according to Cancer Research UK.

“Justine did everything right,” said Mr Francis.

“She wanted a biopsy but doctors don’t tend to do them at 30. She was 29 and a half. This could have been a completely different story.

“If you’re unsure on diagnosis don’t walk away – listen to your body and demand doctors to take it seriously."

Mr Francis estimates that each marathon will take around four and a half hours to complete. There will be a Facebook Live at the start of each marathon, and throughout each one, with people welcome to watch and show their support.

The fifth and final marathon, on Sunday April 18, will end at Rogerstone Welfare Grounds where Justine will be waiting at the finishing line.