Match of the Week meets Claire Hunter: netball player and cancer fighter
SHE limped off injured and her team lost an important match at a critical time in the season, but still her captain called her "invincible".
Invincible, indomitable, inspirational, or plain stubborn?
Read on then choose for yourself the adjective you think best describes Claire Hunter – netball player and cancer fighter.
Claire was 40 when she felt a lump in her breast.
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"It was September 2011 and I dismissed it," she said. "Eventually, probably four weeks later, I went to the doctor."
She feared the worst. "Up until the investigations I thought, 'This is going to be harmless'," said Claire. "But I was reading the faces of people around me and I could tell they thought there was something to worry about.
"From having the biopsy to getting the results a week later I sort of knew in my heart it was going to be bad news."
In November 2011, a diagnosis of cancer was confirmed.
"I was calmer than I would have expected," said Claire.
"Nonetheless it was a big shock hearing the words. It was a bolt out of the blue. My biggest fear was, 'How are we going to tell the children?'"
She need not have worried. "The children (Rory and Imogen) have been amazing," said Claire, who is married to Mike and lives in Newport, Barnstaple. "They were very upset when we told them but they have stunned us with their resilience."
Claire was speaking an hour before she was due on court at the Park Community School, Barnstaple, for a North Devon League match between her team, Carol Anne Topaz, and Venners Bakery Anacondas.
To the winning team the leadership of the third division and, with just four games remaining, probably the title.
Eighteen months after finding that lump and less than a year after completing chemotherapy, Claire was nervous.
The cause now, though, was not her health but the fact it was an important match and the wing defence she faced was "very young, very tall and a very good player who is the same age as my daughter".
Then she laughed. "But anyone is tall in comparison to me.I am 5ft."
No opponent is as formidable as cancer and Claire has taken it on as if she is the one with the advantage.
She carried on playing netball, carried on working for the Department of Health, carried on training as a health visitor – and said she was "blessed".
"Physically, I feel really well, although I do get tired," said Claire, who will remain under treatment with the drug Herceptin until the end of May.
"Emotionally, I feel the same as ever – positive, optimistic, blessed. I do not look back on the last 18 months as being awful. There have been some awful periods but there have also been some great times.
"The opportunity to look at your life and take stock is a positive.
"The fact I found my lump is positive. I could have ignored it and then who knows what might have happened?
"It has also been positive in the way family and friends have rallied round. That has been a lovely feeling of being cherished and loved."
Love was all around the court on Monday evening when Claire went down clutching her right knee and grimacing.
Jumping to receive a pass she landed awkwardly, suffering suspected damaged ligaments.
You sensed from her team-mates that any one of them would rather it had been them.
"The girls have been a really important part of me getting through these tricky times," said Claire before the match. "They have always been there, always aware of what is going on, always caring for me.
"Lots of texts and phone calls, just that sense of people rooting for me."
According to Topaz captain Alice Whittley, concern for Claire took the wind out of their sails in a close match. The score was 12-9 to Anacondas in a match they would go on to win convincingly, 41-23.
"It had a massive effect on us," said Alice. "I know it shouldn't because sport is sport but, after what Claire has been through, it has more of an impact."
No player had covered more ground or shown more energy than Claire, so the effect of her departure was not just emotional but structurally damaging.
As she sat holding ice to her leg, she saw Anacondas drive home their sudden advantage to lead 18-9 at half time, with Madison Shepherd hitting six quick scores.
While stopping short of suggesting Topaz would have won had Claire lasted the hour, her captain said: "I think it would have been a lot closer."
Less than a fortnight after diagnosis, Claire was back playing netball.
"We are a group of very close friends so there was not a sense of having to hide what was going on," she said. "It was a case of wanting to do something I enjoy, but it was also bloody-mindedness, that it wasn't going to get the better of me."
Alice said: "I have never met anyone as invincible as Claire. She has got such a focus."
Not to mention spirit in adversity.
As she got to her feet after the match, she managed a smile through her discomfort. "Never mind," she said. "It's only a knee, not the end of the world."
Invincible, indomitable, inspirational, stubborn. All these and more.