Michelle: “Getting outdoors in the mountains makes me appreciate life”

Author: Kizzie Wilson - Sports Fundraiser - November 18, 2021

Image of Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. This year, she set herself the incredible goal of hiking all 214 of the Wainwrights, a collection of peaks in the Lake District National Park, in aid of Prevent Breast Cancer. Michelle has always loved hiking and so decided to turn her passion into pounds to help fund oulife-saving research

MICHELLE’S STORY

In March 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump. I never thought for one minute it would be breast cancer. I was only 43 and considered myself to be too young and healthy. After a mammogram and biopsy, it was confirmed as high-grade DCIS. It was explained to me that even though this was non-invasive, I would still need a mastectomy immediately. Within 6 weeks of diagnosis, I had a mastectomy and reconstruction. Even though I was devastated, I stayed strong for my family and felt blessed that it was an early diagnosis.

After my mastectomy, my surgeon informed me that unfortunately the cancer had developed, and two HER2-positive tumours were discovered. This literally brought my world crashing down around me. I went from just needing surgery, lymph node removal and radiotherapy with my initial diagnosis, to needing chemotherapy, Herceptin, and Tamoxifen for 10 years.

A big thing for me was losing my hair and after researching I discovered the cold cap. I contacted my oncologist who referred me for an appointment and agreed I seemed a suitable candidate. The cold cap is not for everyone and there can be complications. It’s quite uncomfortable for the first 10 minutes due to it being so cold, but this does pass and is then bearable. Fortunately, it worked for me, and I kept the majority of my hair.

 SUPPORTING OTHERS

I was determined to stay positive throughout my treatment. My husband Andy and two children Callum and Amber were my rock. I received an overwhelming amount of support from my family and friends and met some lovely people who I am now good friends with. We run a support group called ‘Boobilicious’. We support other women who are suffering with this horrendous disease. Some women don’t have families to support them so by organising a coffee and walking morning once a week, it allows them to open up and get the support they need and deserve. Helping others who are going through breast cancer treatment is something I will always continue to do for as long as I can.

THE CHALLENGE

I am currently hiking as many Wainwrights in the Lake District as I can to raise money and awareness for Prevent Breast Cancer. I noticed the boots for boobs campaign supported by Julia Bradbury who has recently been diagnosed. It inspired me to continue doing what I love and raising money at the same time. I have completed 30 Wainwright’s since May this year and intend on completing all 214!

I am doing this challenge for myself, as a breast cancer survivor, and also to raise awareness and to support everyone who is enduring this horrible disease. I feel blessed to have overcome breast cancer and getting outdoors in the mountains makes me appreciate life more than ever.

If you’d like to support Michelle Graham and help her reach her goal, please visit her giving page by clicking here.

 

ABOUT PREVENT BREAST CANCER

Prevent Breast Cancer is the only UK charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer – we’re committed to freeing the world from the disease altogether. Unlike many cancer charities, we’re focused on preventing, rather than curing. Promoting early diagnosis, screening and lifestyle changes, we believe we can stop the problem before it starts. And being situated at the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, we’re right at the front-line in the fight against the disease.

 

Join us today and help us create a future free from breast cancer. If you have any questions or concerns, email info@preventbreastcancer.org.uk today