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When Hayley was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, it had already spread and become incurable. Now, her husband, Scott, and their two children have been doing what they can to emphasise the importance of secondary research.
My wife, Hayley, was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2014. Just a week after we found that out, we received devastating news that she was in fact secondary.
Hayley was the perfect mum and wife. She loved spending time with family and friends and, of course, doting over our dog. Throughout her breast cancer treatment (which she needed every third week), she also made some good friends at our local treatment centre.
Hayley was quite honestly the most amazing, kind, generous, loving person you could meet. She made time for anyone, even random people she would meet on our numerous dog walks. She is so well thought of by so many people.
She didn't let the fact that she was never going to be cured become an obstacle to making the most of life. Her courage and positivity was unreal during her journey, and I believe an inspiration to many.
Hayley’s treatment was herceptin: something she described as her ‘magic medicine’. During her six-year journey, she also had a mastectomy, radiotherapy, and brain surgery. This was combined with daily tablets to ensure she was as she could be for as long as possible.
Unless you knew, other than her being achey and tired at times, you probably wouldn’t notice anything was wrong. That was a true mark of Hayley’s attitude. She was an advocate of always believing in better things and being positive.
All of us treated it like a new normal. We would get a little nervous each time her scans came around but, as long as her magic medicine was working, we knew Hayley would be ok.
Unfortunately, Hayley started to decline significantly from March 2020, and she sadly passed away in the August with myself and our two kids beside her.
Seeing what the disease did to Hayley in the lead up to her untimely passing is something that will live with us forever. We want to make people aware of secondary breast cancer, the effects it can have, and what sorts of things you can do if you do get diagnosed with secondary.
Yes, there should be a focus on primary breast cancer – but, as Hayley’s cancer had already spread by the time of her diagnosis, that information was never really helpful for us.
We only came across Breast Cancer Now after Hayley’s passing, as we had some sponsorship money that we wanted to put to good use, and realised that the charity has a real focus on furthering secondary research.
By setting up a Fund in Memory for Hayley, we are able to cherish her memory while donating money to help other people like her.
I cannot speak highly enough of the help, awareness and support the charity provides, and we have been happy to take part in campaigns to continue raising awareness of secondary breast cancer.
If you have lost a loved one to secondary breast cancer and would like to set up your own fund in memory, our team are more than happy to help you out. The money you raise will fund vital research and help towards our goal that, by 2050, everyone with a breast cancer diagnosis will live and be supported to live well.