Mum gets early cancer warning after chance encounter with her surgeon

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Mum gets early cancer warning after chance encounter with her surgeon

Nicky Marks has raised more than £8,000 for charity by running 5k every day until her surgery

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Nicky with her son Josh (left) and running with her dog (right)
Nicky with her son Josh (left) and running with her dog (right)

A woman’s remarkable chance encounter with the surgeon who treated her for breast cancer may have saved her from the disease for a second time.

Nicky Marks was going for a run near Woodside Park when she bumped into the surgeon, Mr Victor Jaffe, who operated on her for the disease 13 years ago.

“He literally just appeared in front of me. It was just too big an opportunity not to say something.”

She told him: “I’m really sorry to bother you – but I just wanted to tell you that I’m one of your survivors”.

The doctor told her to make another appointment that week, the encounter may have save her life – with the radiographer telling her the devastating news: “we found something on your mammogram.”

“I was like here we go again”, she said. But Nicky realised she “had a choice”. Nicky said: “I can either go into complete meltdown, devastation and depression, like I did with the first one. Or, I can just go, No. We have to turn this into a positive.”

After taking up running to get fitter during the pandemic, she decided to run 5k every day until her surgery, raising money for an Israeli charity, Alyn, which her parents helped found – supporting vulnerable children. So far more than £8,000 has been raised.

Calling her encounter with Mr Jaffe “the light bulb moment” she needed, Nicky said her initiative a “win win” situation, because “it’s something that’s keeping my mind off waking up every morning thinking, I’ve got cancer.

Nicky and her family in Israel visiting an Alyn hospital, after her youngest son Josh donated 20 percent of his barmitzvah money to the cause.

“Instead, I wake up every morning thinking, who am I running with today?

“Everybody has joined in, it’s just gone crazy. For the next two weeks, I’ve got somebody running with me every day and people are messaging me constantly”.

Nicky, who is originally from Southport but now lives in Barnet, said people appreciate “she didn’t just collapse in the heap because she was diagnosed – she decided to do something with it. And I think it’s just hit a nerve with people.”

Nicky’s son Daniel running on a cruise, helping to raise money

The Southgate Progressive Synagogue member also enlisted her three children in fundraising, as well as close family in Israel.

Her 28-year-old musician son who works on a cruise ship is donating all his tips to the cause, while her 16-year-old other son, who fundraised for Alyn for his barmitzvah, is also doing the couch-to-5k challenge.

Her 27-year-old daughter who lives in the US and is a hairdresser, is also donating tips.

You can donate here:

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: