BY her own admission, Angie Bruns is a lady who relishes a challenge.

Whether physical or mental, she has had barriers to overcome yet always found a positive way to combat them.

The night-shift nurse turned to fitness and keep-fit to help her mental health, after her husband became critically ill.

Now she has used her strength and powers of endurance to raise thousands of pounds for a very worthy cause.

The 37-year-old signed up to complete 3,000 sit-ups in March, to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

She achieved that within 13 days so decided to double her target to 6,000.

Having then smashed 6,000, she continued until the end of the month by which time she finished with 10,001.

In the process, she has raised more than £2,500.

Angie admits being overwhelmed by people’s kindness and also having very personal reasons for getting involved.

She said: “I was inspired to do this challenge because I’ve always been passionate about fundraising and love to set myself challenges.

“I thought this would be a perfect way to spend the last month of lockdown before restrictions began to ease.

“I love to exercise, although it’s a fairly new passion of mine.

“I got into it after my husband became critically ill with cystic fibrosis in 2017.

“He had a major bleed from his lungs which left him fighting for his life.

“Although he survived, he now has an average lung function of just 25%.

“When it started to become clear his health wasn’t improving - he was stable but not improving - I knew I needed to look into ways to improve my mental health as I was really suffering with anxiety and panic attacks, because of his new state of health.

“I started with yoga, meditation and some low-impact workout sessions and since then it has escalated to high intensity workouts with various weights and something I’m incredibly passionate about.

“I workout from home while also being able to care for my husband and work my full-time night shifts.

“I’m healthier and fitter than I’ve ever been.”

Angie, who lives in Myland, Colchester, with husband Kevin, has been a nurse for 16 years, qualifying when she was 21.

She has been working in care since she was 16.

“Being fit and healthy became even more important to me when I realised it would be a very difficult situation if I was ever to get seriously unwell, so I do everything I can to stay as healthy as possible,” she said.

“I couldn’t do a single sit-up when I started exercising.

“Exercise makes me so happy, with all the endorphins it releases.

“I’m much more aware of my emotions and mental health and how to manage it.

Worthy cause - Angie Bruns

Worthy cause - Angie Bruns

“As the saying goes, ‘you’re only one workout away from a good mood’ and it’s so true.

“It lifts my spirits and keeps me grounded and in a much better head space to be able to care for my husband to my best ability.

“I don’t have a particular connection to The Royal Mardsen, but have looked after many patients with cancer throughout my career.

“It’s such an honour to be able to care for patients and their families at the most vulnerable time.

“It’s also incredibly heart-warming and emotional when a patient recovers, goes home in remission and beats cancer.

“Simply incredible.

“For a while I worked on a chemotherapy day unit for haematology or blood cancers and met so many teenagers and youngsters battling so hard.

“Truly inspirational people, they would amaze me with their strength and positive attitudes, just like my husband.

“I was also a palliative care nurse in the past which I absolutely loved.

“I have many friends who have had many experiences with cancer time and time again and it’s awful, sitting by and feeling like there’s nothing I can do to help.

“That’s why I love fundraising, when I can’t do anything else.

“I hope that raising awareness and funds and showing support will help make a small difference to someone’s life.”

Angie maintained her challenge throughout last month but her fundraising page is staying open until the end of April.

To make a donation, just head HERE.

“I’ve loved this challenge, have been a lot more motivated than I thought I would be and have achieved an incredible amount,” she said.

“I have never been a bare minimum type of girl, which would have been 100 sit-ups per day for the 3,000 target.

“I knew from the beginning I would do more but didn’t realise how many more.

“I set myself mini-challenges all the time.

“For example, I was trying to do more sit-ups in a week than I did the week before, so I was always progressing and always doing a little bit better than before.

“The more I smashed each of these mini-challenges, the more motivated I felt to keep going and the more I realised that I’m stronger physically and mentally than I knew.

“I have had lots of fun with the challenges, like doing days in fancy dress and recording various videos.

“I’m astounded by how much I’ve raised.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable and pretty overwhelming how much love and support I’ve been shown through this.

“I had many sponsors before the challenge started so it was so nice to know people had such belief in me.

“My original target was £150 and, as of last weekend, I have raised £2,585.

“I’ve done a lot of fundraising over the years and never raised that much in one go.

“I’m completely blown away and so pleased.”