One Crawley resident who knows only too well how it feels to be diagnosed with breast cancer is postwoman, Kerry Campbell, who was diagnosed five years ago, aged just thirty-two.
To commemorate five years since her diagnosis, Kerry took on the London Marathon, earlier this year and has organised local fundraising events, including a head shave, cake sales and evening event – in total raising over £2500 for The Francis Crick Institute, in London.
We caught up with Kerry to find out all about her fantastic fundraising and hear her inspirational story, this Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
What were your symptoms?
The only symptoms I had was feeling very tired all the time, but I put that down to working long shifts, then I had an itch on my breast and found the lump. I confided in my best friend, but wasn’t overly worried as there is no history of cancer in my family. Thanks to my friend, who kept on at me to get it checked I found out in the early stages. They believe it was caused by stress after losing my mum to a stroke the year before.
I was lucky that the cancer had not spread so had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. I go back for a check-up every 6 months and have a yearly mammogram.
Why did you decide to fundraise for the Francis Crick Institute?
Once it is up and running next year, they will have all researchers under one roof, to help understand the mystery of cancer – what makes it start/develop and spread.
Cancer at any stage is hard, not only for the patient but for friends and family, so to be able to help and contribute towards an institute which I am confident will help others in the future was very important to me.
What was your London Marathon highlights?
Running with 38,000 people wearing charity vests was emotional, to see so many people taking part for charities close to their hearts got me choked up at the start and throughout.
Running with two of my friends who had flown over from Spain was amazing and we finished together holding hands like they did in the first London Marathon thirty-five years ago.
Crossing the finish line and meeting with all my friends who had cheered me on along the route was fantastic. They had been to the shop and got me a cold tin of Carling…..it was one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted in my life!
If a reader thinks they may have symptoms – what would you say?
Simple…What are you waiting for? Get yourself checked!
And finally; how would you say having breast cancer has changed your life?
It’s definitely made me a stronger person. I look at some hurdles life throws and think back to beating cancer, then that problem doesn’t seem as big a deal.
I certainly value my relationship with friends so much more, they saw me at my lowest and were always there encouraging me.
The biggest change was 26.2 miles! Never would I have imagined I would take on a challenge like that, but what a way it was to celebrate my five year clear!
If you are concerned or worried about any symptoms, take Kerry’s advice and get yourself checked out.