BJF Group has raised almost £1,800 for this year’s Wear It Pink campaign, aimed at raising awareness and funds for the charity Breast Cancer Now.
Since being diagnosed with breast Cancer earlier this year and receiving a lot of support from Breast Cancer Now along with other charities and the NHS one of our BJF Group colleagues has asked us to take part in Wear It Pink Day in the hope of raising some much-needed funds.
On Thursday 20th of October, people across BJF Group wore pink and took part in activities aimed at raising as much money as possible for Breast Cancer Now.
We’re overwhelmed by the support we received and have raised almost £1,800!
If you’d like to donate you can still do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bjf-group-wear-it-pink
Sonia asked us to share some of her story which you can read below in the hope of helping people to recognise the signs and symptoms as well as to encourage them to check themselves and attend their routine appointments.
Over to Sonia:
(TW: this story contains detail of Cancer diagnosis and treatment)
The 3 words no one wants to hear – “you’ve got Cancer”.
My name is Sonia, I’m a mummy of 2 boys 4 and 1 years old. In the March of this year I was diagnosed with grade 2 hormonal HER2 negative Breast Cancer.
I recently shared my story after coming to terms with everything on my personal social media platforms and the number of messages I had from girls my age was really overwhelming. I felt that there will so many people like my myself that had never done any regular checks but now they will. I don’t want any kind of sympathy – I just want to try and create awareness and to let you know that Cancer doesn’t come to the older generation, it can hit you at any age. In fact, the youngest person in my local area with my type of cancer was just 24 years old!
In January 2022 I first noticed a lump but being the typical busy mum, I left it a few weeks before ringing the GP. Within 2 weeks I was sent to a breast care unit for a mammogram where I was by far the youngest person in the room. The mammogram wasn’t the most comfortable but equally was not painful in any way. The consultant came back to me and asked for an ultrasound to be taken. It was there that my world changed forever – they wanted to take a biopsy as there were abnormal cells showing.
The results came back after 2 weeks which felt like 10 years! It was confirmed Cancer and that I would need to have a lumpectomy. Weeks passed after the initial operation and just when I thought my life was back now the cancer had gone – I was told it hadn’t. The entire breast was contaminated and I was now going to have a mastectomy. Suddenly, I didn’t care what I would look like, I just wanted the cancer gone! Thankfully this operation was a success, albeit the recovery wasn’t pleasant.
The next step of my journey was to be chemotherapy (I tried everything I could to not do it as I have only seen and heard about the bad side effects). A tissue sample was sent to America to find out how aggressive it was to help determine my next step. The oncologist was very patient with my 1001 questions and when the results came back, I was told that that there was a 20% chance the cancer would return in my life and be metastatic (incurable.) Those results didn’t sit well with me so I had to just suck it up and do it.
At this point I’m open to share that my mental health suffered and without my support network I’m not sure how I would have coped. I’ve learnt to realise that your mind is so powerful and by talking to friends, family, colleagues and even strangers through support groups online I was able to get things back on track.
Luckily, when I eventually had my Chemotherapy, I seemed to have relatively few side effects and still managed to cope with day-to-day life. My biggest fear was missing out on my baby starting school, but I managed every school run! The other big thing for me was losing my hair but now that it’s gone and I have my wig, I don’t care. The only thing I care about is time. I want to have time with my family and friends and whilst none of us know how long we have left I want the quality of my life to be amazing.
As I write this, I’m currently waiting my last ever chemo treatment, which will be followed by a course of radiotherapy. I’m happy that I’ve made it through but there’s no doubt that in the back of mind at every yearly check-up I will be worried that it may come back – but if it does then I know I can deal with it. I don’t plan on wasting another moment thinking negatively!
If you’ve got this far, thank you for reading, I hope it’s helped you to understand my journey and to end I just want to urge everyone that is entitled to an NHS mammogram, please go. Millions of women each year don’t book in. I don’t know why there is a taboo around getting this kind of testing done, it’s so important and it should just be the norm. I also didn’t know that men can also get Breast cancer so everyone should be aware of where and how to check and if something doesn’t feel right YOU MUST MAKE TIME TO CALL YOUR GP!