At the age of 37 I was naive to think that I only needed to start checking my breasts for lumps in 20 years time. I believed it was a cancer that affected our parents and not us as young healthy women (and men). With this in mind, when my friend Gemma told me she had found a lump in her breast I didn’t give it a second thought, obviously she would have a scan and all would be ok. So a week later, when Gemma called me, in total shock, after just finding out she has stage 2 primary breast cancer, I couldn’t find the words. I too was in total shock.
At the time I remember the only words of support I could find were to remind her that I would be with her every step of the way, as would all of her closest friends and family. This however has proved to be incredibly difficult, and the support we have wanted to provide has been made impossible due to the covid restrictions placed upon us.
Gemma has endured six rounds of chemotherapy at hospital on her own and has undergone surgery recently to remove a lymph node from her armpit as well as the tumour from her breast. She has just received the news that she will need a second operation as they didn’t manage to remove all of the cancer cells, and then she will have an intensive course of radiotherapy and a course of injections for up to a year.
Gemma has shown true grit, strength and courage over the last 6 months and she is an inspiration to us all. It has been an incredibly challenging time and yet she has found humour even in the darkest moments. From accidentally giving herself a buzz cut whilst shaving her head, to having to get her radioactive blue dye ‘smurf’ boob out on zoom for her consultant appointment, Gemma has been amazing!
To show our support and to celebrate Gemma getting through her fight against breast cancer one step at a time, we are all going to be running/walking at least 5km on April 24th in our own areas across the country. We need your pennies and pounds to help us raise as much money as we can to stand up to cancer and support the ongoing research against this awful disease. This year has been incredibly difficult for charities and so fundraising is more important than ever.
Gemma, we may not have been with you at hospital, but as I promised at the start of this journey, we are all still with you every step of the way.
We all love you so much.
Cancer is happening right now, which is why I'm taking part in a Race for Life to raise money and save lives.
1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Every single pound you donate makes a difference to Cancer Research UK’s groundbreaking work.