A huge welcome to our newest Ambassador, Nicola!
What’s your connection to Prevent Breast Cancer?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016, when I was a healthy 42yr old, enjoying life. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. You don’t expect it to happen to you.
On my second appointment I remember being asked if there was a history of cancer in my family. I didn’t know my grandads, and I was very young when both my grandmas died. I turned to my mum for answers to this, but even she was unsure of many cases, she could relate to. Before leaving that appointment she mentioned my dad’s cousins in Ireland. Both Francis and Toppy had been diagnosed quite young, so when she got home she called Francis to get more information.
Due to my age they wanted to understand if I had the BRCA gene, as this would impact my treatment and considerations for further preventative surgery.
After an in depth conversation with my dad’s cousin, she confirmed she was BRCA positive and some of her children and nieces had been tested as a result of this. We collated all the information like a family tree and got an appointment at the genetics clinic in Manchester, where I was tested.
I was BRCA1 positive. What this means is that I have a much higher chance of getting breast cancer, usually at a younger age, and also a higher percentage that it could come back in the other breast. Plus also a higher percentage chance of getting ovarian cancer.
These results changed my treatment program and also started conversations about preventative surgery in the future.
I didn’t know much about BRCA before I was diagnosed, I just remembered a story about Angelina Jolie having a full mastectomy and reconstruction, as her mother had breast cancer. I wanted to make more people aware and started to look for charities I could help.
At the end of 2017 I went away to Prague with some friends for New Year. A couple of the girls who joined us, I knew through work but hadn’t spent much time with them socially. One night I was chatting to one of them and I mentioned that I wanted to start helping a charity and highlight BRCA in some way. She told me she was an ambassador for Prevent Breast Cancer and she would introduce me to Nikki when we got home.
My first involvement with Prevent was their Stars in their Eyes show, which was quite uncanny, as my cousin had been in the very first series of this show, many, many years ago.
This was the start of my journey with Prevent.
Why did you become an Ambassador?
After being part of Breastfest in 2019, which was a great privilege, and meeting so many inspiring women, I was honoured to be asked to be an ambassador for Prevent. I didn’t want to go through Breast Cancer and get on with my normal life, I wanted to use my experience to help others.
I support Prevents ambition and aim, and that is to eradicate this terrible disease for future generations, through sharing knowledge and research.
What do you hope to achieve in the future as an Ambassador?
Make as many people breast aware as I can. Raise awareness of what Prevent do as a charity, and help raise money to support the vital research needed.
What would you say to someone who was reading this and was thinking about being an Ambassador?
Everyone has been effected by cancer in some way, whether that’s personally or someone in their family. By being an Ambassador you get to make a difference to many lives, and hopefully someday prevent this disease effecting future generations.