My connection with breast cancer has been very personal but also inspiring. I recently lost the most amazing fighter to breast cancer... my mummy. She fought inspirationally for nearly 10 years, with courage and strength. As her best friend, daughter, and sometimes her carer, I saw how she dealt with the disease first hand. She always said to others that positivity was the key; get on with life, live it well, still work, still go on that trip, still go to that party.
I was 22 when my mum first told me she’d been diagnosed. And 29 the second time. Then I sadly lost her when I was 31. I just had my first birthday without her. No birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day or any other occasion will ever be the same.
Two days after my mum passed, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last week alone I had two customers walk into my mother’s shop who have both been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past few months. It is everywhere I go. And I want to make it a mission to help stop it. Now I have a child of my own, it's something that terrorises me more than ever.
However, I now feel in a better place with the knowledge and information to pass on to other people who have been diagnosed. My advice to other sufferers would be what my mum said and lived by:
“Think positive. Don’t let it get into your head. You can control your body, if only for a while, it's a while longer then you might already have. Go to work, hold your head up. Carry on. See your friends, have that sneaky glass of wine. Go on that holiday. Think positive and don't let it take over your head like it's trying to take your body.”
My advice to family members is give it everything you have. Be there, and stay positive for them. Don't let that person see you breaking inside, be strong and be there for them.
It was my mum who started fundraising for breast cancer charities. She started the whole thing off in 2007 with a cake sale outside her shop. It’s grown now to be a huge fete-like event, which gets bigger every year.
This year, together with my sister and my mum's best friends, Gianna, Amanda and Julie, we’re keeping the event running now in mum’s memory. Hopefully this year will be bigger and better than ever, so we can raise as much as possible for breast cancer research. Every year it feels like we are helping to get to the day where we can reduce how many people are diagnosed with breast cancer.
I think it's important that people wear pink in October as we need to raise more awareness. This disease is growing rapidly, and the more money we can raise to research what we can do to prevent it, the better. I have confidence in the research that is being done to stop breast cancer, and I believe that one day we will stop this disease. I have to, not just for me, but for my mum and best friend.
Joining us for wear it pink 2017? Take a look at our ideas, tips and downloadable resources to help you plan the perfect pink day.