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Laura, first diagnosed with breast cancer at 25, is the face of Fairfax & Favor’s new campaign to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. Here she discusses her secondary diagnosis and living every day to the full as she calls for all women to regularly check their breasts.
I was in Australia travelling and usually used a washing mitt, but I hadn't got it out of my bag and was just using my hands for the shower gel. It was then I discovered the lump. I had no idea it could be cancer. I was 25. I had never known anyone that age to get cancer. I never even checked my boobs and had never been told I should or what to look for. I had a year of treatment, including chemotherapy and a mastectomy. But one year after finishing treatment, aged 28, I started experiencing pain in my right shoulder. I was diagnosed with stage 4 incurable breast cancer. It had already spread to my bones. I had a shoulder replacement and chemotherapy.
I’m so fortunate that the treatment I started on at the end of 2016 for my secondary diagnosis is still to this day working. The cancer is in my spine and pelvis but is being kept stable by these wonder drugs. I was told they may only work for 18 months, so I feel very blessed to still be on them today.
I chose to not focus on the future cancer has taken from me. My friends and family keep me busy and they enjoy making memories with me which is so special. I got married to my husband, Brad, in April 2019. Me and Brad were together for four years before I was diagnosed with my breast cancer. Although it has been challenging, we’ve got through each step together. He has been my rock over the years and when we got married, it meant the world to me as he wanted to be with me and made a commitment knowing the reality of our life together.
I try to have lots of nice things planned in the diary as I’m very sociable. Keeping busy means cancer isn't at the forefront of my mind, making the days much nicer to wake up to. And I blog and have an Instagram account. I feel honoured people want to hear my story and take an interest in my life, and even more so when I hear they check their breasts because of me. And when I hear I’ve helped someone in some way, it feels very special.
By checking regularly, you get to know your own body and what’s normal for you, so you notice any changes quicker and have a better chance of catching things early if breast cancer was to develop. If you have breast tissue you could get breast cancer. Although it’s still very rare and unlikely to happen in your twenties, by checking from a young age you’ll be more aware if something changes.
I feel very proud to have been asked to be the face of the Fairfax & Favor campaign. It’s such a wonderful brand with products I absolutely love, but also the fact they want to raise vital money for such an important cause by donating 100% of proceeds from their range of Breast Cancer Now products to the charity this October, means a huge amount to me. It really shows how much they care for the cause.
And it gets an amazing message out to their followers about breast awareness. The products they’re releasing this year are beautiful, and so accessible and useable for everyone.
I can't wait to see the campaign go out and be able to show everyone what we got up to on the day, and I hope it may be something I can work on with the brand for years to come.
The day of the photoshoot was amazing. I felt really special and well looked after, and everyone was so welcoming. The products were lovely and the whole day was full of smiles and laughter.
You can follow Laura on Instagram at baldbooblessandbeautiful
Click here to find out more about how Fairfax and Favor is supporting Breast Cancer Now.