Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

Research. Support. Education.

Charity Champions

Nicky Newman

I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer to the bone on Friday 13th April 2018. Unlucky for some! It was during my first ever round of IVF that I noticed my right boob wasn’t too happy - growing lump, skin dimple, nipple inversion, you name it I had it. I was so focused on becoming a mother that I didn’t take notice of what was going on. Oh, and I forgot to mention I was also being treated for a ‘prolapsed disc’ (hmmmm)

Fast forward...after bloods, mammograms, many biopsies and scans, within 2 weeks I was told my IVF had failed, I had breast cancer and it’s in every bone in my body. I was now incurable with a much shorter life span. World...falls...apart!

Everything from that point on has been a whirlwind. It’s a lot for one hooman to take in but my god does it kick you up the arse! I have achieved more in these last 2 years than I ever thought possible. I have a whole new outlook on life, I grab it, I don’t hold back, after all you only live once (I know it’s cheesy but it’s so true). Why does it have to take something that shakes your core for you to wake up?

I shout about boobs a lot and am extremely passionate about raising awareness of secondary breast cancer & connecting the secondary community. I now run a social media page with another secondary sister that hopefully will change the perception of living with an incurable diagnosis. 

Claire O'Donnell

 

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I'm 41 years young! I’m a big sister, auntie, friend and mum to my two fur baby cats, Ben and Jerry. I was diagnosed at the end of 2015 with breast cancer and my secondaries were confirmed at the end of 2016 after my primary treatment ended. I'm very lucky to have been stable for the past 4 years on my first line treatment of hormone therapy - Letrozole and Ibandronic Acid.

I had an Oopherectomy last year, which has meant closing the door to the idea of having my own children, but it was ultimately the right decision for me when facing life-long treatment. It has to be what works for you - plus I wasn't coping with the monthly Zoladex injection. The forced menopause is fun(!) I've learned over the last couple of years that you just have to go with it. There's no changing it and you will have bad days but there are more good days than bad.

I reached out to Make 2nds Count to meet others in a similar situation to me. I love the friends I've met from the charity and I'm stronger for having met these ladies. They get it. I really want to lend support to others and share my experiences in a positive way, particularly as a younger female. I love their message and what they want to achieve as a charity. I'm shy but eager to help.  secondary breast cancer is complicated and Make 2nds Count lead by example and I want to be part of that movement.

Interesting Fact: I have a massive Dr Martens collection that I started after diagnosis. Shoes, boots, bags, scarfs, pins. My goal is to reach 100 pairs and in the 2 years of collecting, I already have 78 pairs. I wear a different pair every day and always choose the shoes first and build the outfit around them. They make a great addition to EVERY outfit and they are always a talking point.

Karen Hilton

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I am 47, a mum to Tristan and partner to Alistair. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 3 years ago and in September 2018 I found out that it was metastatic. I am now on an oral chemotherapy drug which I pray keeps my cancer at bay for as long as possible and gives me a good remaining quality of life with my family.

I wanted to be part of the Make 2nds Count team as secondary breast cancer is constantly evolving and outsmarting the treatments so there is a pressing need to raise money for research, education & support and to be one step ahead of this indiscriminate disease.

Interesting Fact: Despite the fact that I can’t sing we recently filmed a video for a charity night which includes me singing. Unbelievably, the video has now been viewed over 75,000 times on Facebook!! We managed to raise over £18,000 for Make 2nds Count from the night and the video. Maybe I should add singing lessons to my bucket list!

 

 

Alison Tait

undefinedI became involved with Make 2nds Count to meet others with secondary breast cancer that live locally to me so we can share our knowledge, experiences and networks to help make a tangible difference for those living with this disease.

I'd like to think that I bring a willingness to help out with the charity when I can and also to use my connections at Breast Cancer Now, the Scottish Parliament and the media to ensure that we're all joined up with what the other is doing.

Interesting Fact: I love to holiday in Scotland and have explored the North Coast 500 route by camper van.

Liz Mcainsh

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I am 54 and I live with my wife and our son in Edinburgh. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends here. I also had a very fulfilling career as a police officer in Edinburgh and Lothians. I think that used to define me but since 2016 when I was diagnosed with primary and secondary breast cancer, within a month of each other, I struggle to ensure that cancer does not. 

My secondaries were diagnosed in my spine and ribs. I’d been living with severe back pain for the previous 15 months so it was almost a relief to be diagnosed and at last get the help that I needed. 

I’ve now started a new targeted therapy, Palbociclin. It’s a kind of chemo-light, targeting the cancer cells specifically. I’m also on a different hormone therapy administered via injection every 4 weeks. I still get my bone strengthening infusion to keep these moth-eaten bones strong. 

My purpose in life now is to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can to see my 7 year old son thrive and steer him through life with my partner in crime! 

And while cancer doesn’t define me, I have a strong desire to raise awareness of this awful disease through charities that have been set up to do just that. With the help of family and friends, I’ve raised several thousand pounds through three events at home and been fortunate enough to participate as a model in the annual Breast Cancer Care/Now Fashion Show.

Life is good!

Laura Dawson

I'm 34, live in London with my husband, David, of 3 months but originally from North Lancashire where all my family live. I work in digital payments, and I love the seaside, travelling, cheese, F1, walking, and long (bubbly) lunches with my friends and family. Cancer was not on my radar!

I was diagnosed with Secondary breast cancer in my bones and liver in late 2017, 3 months after my primary diagnosis following my first scan. It’s hard to describe the feeling of finding out - your whole world and how you think your life will pan out, collapses. I have a pacemaker for a heart condition I was born with and I thought I'd had my fill of hospitals!!

I am currently on Nab Pacitaxel chemotherapy and an immunotherapy, fingers crossed it is working because I haven’t had much luck of late!

There's nothing like an illness with a shorter life expectancy to get you moving! I was always positive and very busy travelling around and socialising, but I think I’ve also been able to appreciate the smaller stuff. So along with a trip to Vegas and the most amazing wedding day filled with llamas and donkeys, I now really enjoy walks in the park and cooking...the smaller stuff makes me content!

I came across Make 2nds Count early on after my diagnosis - the charity definitely delivers hope and offers a community of people in the same situation. I organised a 20 mile walk in the Lake District with 60 friends and family last year called "Saunter for Secondaries" and managed to raise £16K.

Interesting Fact: Last year I went to Svalbard, one of the worlds most uninhabited places, off the North of Norway which was the most beautiful place I've ever been to. We went on a boat trip and my (now) husband proposed on his birthday! I was too cold to cry!