Back in 2001 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
This week, I am celebrating my 10th anniversary of having had breast reconstruction following successful treatment for the cancer.
To some, it may seem strange to want to celebrate such an occasion but to me it reminds me of the huge landmark it was, how personal it is and how proud I am.
In the years that have passed I have met many, many women who have had similar procedures.
I was privileged to have gone into theatre with my surgeon to follow a patient through her breast reconstruction, observe the operation and watch her progress; it was a remarkable experience.
Similarly, in the years that have intervened, it has been encouraging to hear about the advancements of treatment for breast cancer, with higher percentages of survival rates and techniques improved.
It has been a whirlwind of a time and as we, as a charity, enthusiastically prepare for our 11th annual walk at Wicksteed Park in March I know we will meet yet more people who have had experiences of breast cancer as well as the regulars who come along year after year.
I cannot thank the medical teams who looked after me enough and when each walk kicks off it is a comforting feeling knowing we are bringing like-minded people together and, at the same time, positively doing something to keep the standards of breast cancer care here in Northamptonshire as high as we can.
Joining together on a walk day can be likened to belonging to one very large self-help group.
Despite the emotional rollercoasters that a diagnosis of breast cancer can bring, the ‘togetherness’ is so uplifting and we have so much fun. Please join us.
For more details call 01933 442999, email firstname.lastname@example.org or download entry forms from www.crazyhatsbreastcancerappeal.co.uk.