When Julie was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer during lockdown, she wanted to do something to ensure both she and her son stayed healthy and happy – so she took on a challenge.
Being diagnosed during lockdown was very difficult
I am a single mum to Charlie, my 10-year-old son, and so the hardest part of my breast cancer diagnosis was being advised by the oncologist that I would need to either keep him inside with me for 18 weeks while shielding or send him away. Neither was a workable option, as you can imagine!
It's not healthy for a young lad to be stuck inside for that long, and he was already feeling a bit down because of lockdown and being away from his friends.
So, I called the Breast Cancer Now Helpline - and it was brilliant. The nurse I spoke to was so helpful.
Having someone to talk to meant everything to me
I had a plan in my head of what I thought might be a solution, and the nurse talked through it all with me. She made me feel like I'd really come up with a great plan, so I left that call feeling buoyant and ready to take it on. As long as I knew Charlie was going to be okay and manage to stay with me most of the time, I was happy!
She also reassured me that the way I had told my son about my cancer was textbook stuff. She really was an angel on the phone.
For me, in that moment, it meant everything to have that nurse taking the time to help me work through a solution. This is the main reason I decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Now.
Breast Cancer Now is working to help people like me
I then went on to do a bit of digging into what research they are doing, and found they were working quite a lot on triple negative breast cancer. This is of personal interest with regards to my own diagnosis - but they also have a great presence on social media and provide live Q&As covering various topics, which I also appreciated. They just seem very present and approachable.
In order to support them, I aimed to walk or run 275 miles before my last cycle of chemo - which I achieved a week ahead of schedule!
The most rewarding part of undertaking this fundraiser was being contacted by another woman who had been through a similar experience and told me that I had inspired her to do something similar! She is now raising money for Breast Cancer Now through her own challenge.
This, as well as all the fantastic support, really made the experience enjoyable for me.
I am a strong believer in focusing on health
Through this period of my life, I have become a total believer in focusing on my wellbeing rather than my cancer diagnosis. I have held visions of perfect health and vitality throughout my treatment, and the challenge is something that I knew would help me with that.
When you are walking in nature, moving your body and getting lots of fresh air in your lungs, it's almost impossible to feel anything other than healthy and positive.
I've also been blown away by the support I have received through donations and words of encouragement along the way. People really are incredible!
Pick something you enjoy doing and go for it
For anyone else out there that is thinking of doing a similar challenge I would say, absolutely go ahead and do it! It has been so beneficial to me in so many ways.
If you’re going through active treatment like I was, then you'll get to know when you can push yourself a bit and when you need to take a slower pace. Just listen to your body and don't overdo it. The support you will receive from others will keep you going, and also the knowledge that you are helping a great charity.
Also make sure you choose something that you enjoy doing for your challenge! That definitely makes it a whole lot easier.
If you’ve been inspired my Julie’s story, why not take on your own challenge? From marathons taking place later in the year to socially distanced walks and virtual events, there's something for everyone.