Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

Research. Support. Education.

Charity Champions

Claire O'Donnell

 

undefined

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.

Danielle Callaghan

I'm 31 years old, mummy to my sassy little 2 year old girl Joey and wife to my lovely husband Tim. We live in a sleepy little village in Kent where we enjoy going on long walks through nearby fields feeding the horses and pigs.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer with liver metastases in November 2018 when I was 29 years old and my daughter was only 6 months. It was life shattering news as I was on maternity leave from my job in Adult Social Care, enjoying time as a new mum and planning my wedding.

Once I picked myself back up, I decided to use the rest of my life to raise awareness of the disease and also raise funds for charities such as Make 2nds Count that focus their vital research into secondary breast cancer.

When I'm not on social media telling people the importance of checking their breasts, I am enjoying family time with my daughter, keeping fit at the gym and finding any excuse to drink Gin with my girls on the very rare occasions we get away from our children.

Karen Hilton

undefined

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!

 

 

Karen Tumblety

In August 2000 I discovered a lump in my right breast, and it was soon confirmed as breast cancer.  At 36 years of age with two young children, aged 12 and 8, I was devastated.  Within weeks I had a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. 

I was then told I would also need six months of chemo and would lose my hair, this was what I dreaded the most. Five years of hormone treatment followed.

Regular scans and check ups over the following years gradually gave me the confidence to believe I had beaten it and could live my life without worrying about Cancer.

However, in October 2017 I hurt my back and it took weeks for the pain to go away. Then in April 2018 it recurred, the pain was intense.  

Following a CT scan and MRI it was confirmed I secondary breast cancer and that I had three tumours. One on the spine, one in my lung and possibly one in my liver. I had my mum with me at the appointment which was just as well as I was in complete shock. Telling my husband and children was so incredibly difficult. It later transpired that my tumours were in the breast, spine and lung!

My first appointment with the oncologist was on a Monday morning in June 2018 and I started radiotherapy that afternoon. 

I am now on a treatment regime of Letrozole and Palbociclib as well as denomasab for my bones. So far, the treatment has reduced the tumours and I am managing the side effects of the treatment.

 

I have recently retired from my job so I can spend as much time as possible with those I love.

Laura Bailey

My name is Laura Bailey, I am a wife, mother of 3 and a Secondary breast cancer thrived. I was initially diagnosed in June 2017. After gruelling treatment and surgeries it transpired the cancer had spread to my bones. As it stand I am stable. The drugs are doing their job. Side effects kick my arse on the daily.

 I am lucky though, I found a community and more importantly friends who understand exactly what I'm going through!

Lisa was one of the first people to reach out to me when I got my secondary diagnosis and it’s great to be part of the Make 2nds Count family as a patient champion!

Liz Mcainsh

undefined

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!

In Loving Memory

Our patient champions will always remain at the heart of our work at Make 2nds Count. Here we pay tribute and remember those champions who are no longer with us yet their spirit still inspires us in everything that we do. 

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!