A young mum was diagnosed with breast cancer after spotting a peculiar symptom.
Mum-of-three and cancer survivor Kirsty Naylor, 36, decided to share her story after to raise awareness of the unusual side-effect.
Despite feeling concerned, as she was only 34 at the time, she did not think that it was an indicator of cancer.
As strict Covid restrictions were in place at the Royal Bolton Hospital at the time, it meant Kirsty had to undergo an ultrasound and mammogram alone.
She then received the shock news that she had breast cancer after two tumours were found during the scan.
Kirsty had to have her right breast removed and says she spent Christmas 2020 in fear for her future. She began chemotherapy treatment in February 2021 but initially reacted badly to this, developing neutropenic sepsis.
The mum spent long times alone and very weak in hospital, with partner 46-year-old Dale Young rallying to look after their three girls, Ella, 16, Evie, six, and Eila, four. Kirsty’s mum had to move into the family home as she spent so much time in hospital.
Kirsty finished her chemo about 12 months ago, but her journey did not stop here. She faced radiotherapy in July and is still sometimes left unable to walk due to the chemotherapy.
As well as this, she will need an annual mammogram plus will take the drug tamoxifen for the next decade. Kirsty is also receiving an implant every four weeks to stop an early menopause.
Discussing her experiences with breast cancer, Kirsty said: “When they told me I had breast cancer, I didn’t take in the news at first. But when I walked outside my legs turned to jelly. I couldn’t drive home and I had to get someone to come and pick me up from the hospital.
“I was in shock for some time. I felt sheer panic at telling my family the news. It was as though the whole experience was happening to someone else and not to me.
“My three girls have been absolutely fantastic. It’s been particularly challenging for my eldest. My youngest two didn’t really know what was going on. They wanted to help and look after me. But were most concerned about me losing my hair!”
Kirsty has now been chosen as the voice for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life
And she is now using her story to encourage as many people as possible to enter the event and fund vital cancer research
She has banded together 14 friends to take part in a race this Wednesday (May 18) at Haigh Hall in Wigan, raising £400 already.
Her story has been made into an audio recording which will be played to all participants near the start line at Cancer Research UK Race for Life events in the North West and the rest of the country. It is one of six recordings that will be played across the UK to inspire participants.
Kirsty added: “I hope my story will help connect with people in the moments before they set off on the Race for Life course.
“It’s a privilege to have the chance through the audio recording at Race for Life events to thank the amazing people who are fundraising to support life-saving research.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in the North West, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Kirsty for her support and know that her story will make an impact on participants when played on stage at the beginning of Race for Life.
“Sadly, cancer affects all of us in some way. Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer or signing up to protect their own children’s future, everyone has a reason to Race for Life.
“So we’re asking people across the region: ‘Who will you race for?’
“Our Race for Life events are open to all. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. Slow and steady still wins. For others, it’s a jog.
“Others may opt to push themselves harder, taking up the challenge of the 10K distance and even pushing for a new personal best time.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming people of all ages and abilities. Race for Life will be fun, emotional, colourful, uplifting and an unforgettable event this year.” To learn more about Race for Life, visit raceforlife.org.
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