Jenny joins BooBee’s Big Campaign
‘I can’t say it was a doddle, but one day at a time…’
Jenny Ferguson was diagnosed with lobular invasive cancer in November 2016 – on her birthday of all days! Jenny had felt something in her left breast, but having been previously blessed with good health, didn’t think anything of it. Having been prompted by something on television and vowing to be a good example to her daughters she called the GP and was in the waiting room within an hour.
In 2019, Jenny took part in Prevent Breast Cancer’s BreastFest. This campaign was the brainchild of Prevent Breast Cancer Patron, Margo Cornish, and saw 100 women, affectionately known as BooBees, who had been affected by breast cancer join together to spread awareness and fundraise for a future without breast cancer.
We are delighted that Jenny has once again signed up as a BooBee Ambassador as part of our newest, vitally important drive – BooBee’s Big Campaign. All our BooBees are raring to go and would love for you to join them for their flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam – a high-octane evening of emotion, inspiration and FUN at Manchester Central on November 19th.
Jenny is keen to continue the important work that was started in 2019 and has very kindly shared her breast cancer journey with us and described the impact that Breastfest had on her and why she decided to get involved again this year.
Can you tell us a little bit about your diagnosis?
Back in 2016, I felt ‘something’ in my left breast – it didn’t feel like a lump, but then who is to say what a lump should feel like? Previously blessed with good health and I realise now, in a bubble where ill health didn’t happen to me, I genuinely believed it was nothing. Prompted by something on TV and vowing to be a good example to my daughters, I called my GP. I actually asked if they had a Well Woman clinic, still not believing it was anything to waste a GP appointment on. The receptionist was having none of it and one hour later I was in the waiting room.
Two weeks later after a mammogram showed nothing, but a subsequent ultrasound did, my consultant Mr. James Harvey was telling me I had done well to identify the less than obvious mass and I should prepare myself. On 21/11/16 (my birthday!), I was diagnosed with lobular invasive cancer – this ‘something’ was a 4.5cm tumour.
How did your diagnosis leave you feeling?
I was traumatised. As a therapist I understood what was happening to my mind and body, but I’d never had to deal with it before. There didn’t seem a limit to my anxiety scale.
Can you tell us about your treatment and how it made you feel?
I had a mastectomy two days before Christmas (lunch cooked for me that year!), then 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy.
I can’t say it was a doddle, but one day at a time, you get there, and I count myself lucky that all was straightforward. Losing my hair was awful – so many ladies look really fab bald, or with the hats and scarves – I didn’t! Not easy looking in the mirror and not recognising yourself. One day you are sure of the ground beneath your feet and your understanding of the world…the next…
What kind of impact did BreastFest 2019 have on you and how are you getting involved in BooBee’s Big Campaign 2022?
BreastFest 2019 was a turning point. It meant putting my big girl pants on and facing the fact that I was part of the breast cancer community, whether I liked it or not! So, I got the BooBee t-shirt and signed up for the drama performance at the Breast Fest Afternoon tea. I emerged with lifelong friends.
Stepping out of my comfort zone empowered me with new skills, including outreach talks to young people and corporate companies, even speaking at an International Women’s Conference. My nerves disappear as I talk to audiences about the work of Prevent Breast Cancer (PBC). You know the saying about giving a woman a microphone? That’s me! I usually have to be forcibly removed from the stage! In my defence the subject of PBC’s work is compelling – I love connecting with people and how they can help our cause.
My Boobee Afternoon Tea dramatics inspired me to start play writing and I proudly watched a play I co-wrote recently receive great reviews at the Liverpool Arts Fringe.
During lockdown, I partnered up and as complete novices we navigated the writing and publishing process to produce a cookbook “More than a Manchester Tart” with all proceeds going to PBC. We had to print twice, and it’s still available on their website.
My contribution for BooBee 2022 is to coordinate the production and selling of our pink Boobee woolly mascot keyrings. I’m hoping they will serve as visual reminders for people to check their breasts for any differences. They are handmade by the supportive PBC community and can be bought at The Nightingale Centre or at BooBee events.
What does the BooBee Campaign mean to you?
Together we are bigger, stronger and empowering… and we will beat this disease.
Thank you so much to Jenny for sharing her journey to being a BooBee Ambassador with us.
BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam
Tickets are on sale for the flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam – an evening of bingo and entertainment with an ’80s twist! The night will also include a special catwalk by our BooBees. Show your support by inviting your friends and family and joining us for a party like no other, at an award-winning venue in the heart of Manchester.
BooBee’s Big Campaign
As part of BooBee’s Big Campaign, our BooBees will be spreading awareness by taking to the streets of Manchester in November on a huge bright pink bus. Make sure you keep an eye on our social media to hear where we will be visiting. In the meantime, be sure to book your tickets for the flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam.