Pinder, who received a primary breast cancer diagnosis, walked 100km for the £1k Challenge that raises funds to help with research, support and campaigns for those affected by secondary breast cancer.

Pinder sitting down wearing an orange top with a party crown on her head that says 'Euro star'

I never thought breast cancer could happen to me

I found a lump in 2021 through self-checking and I immediately went to the doctors who then referred me. I was first diagnosed in February of that year with breast cancer at the age of 40. Like many others, I didn’t think this could happen to me. Although I was shocked, nay devastated, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t alone.

My cancer was aggressive and HER2+, so I immediately started chemotherapy and had over a year of Herceptin treatment.

Breast Cancer Now’s support has been invaluable

Halfway through my chemo treatment, my genetic test came back positive for BRCA 1 gene mutation. This meant it was hereditary and I was considered high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

At the time, I didn't feel that joining groups and speaking to people on a one-to-one basis was for me. When you go through something like this it can feel quite lonely and scary, and Breast Cancer Now became my support.

I could dip in and out [of the website] and take the information in at my pace. When you’re diagnosed. you have people throwing so much at you. Before you know it, you’re on this crazy rollercoaster you can't get off - you don't get a chance to absorb the information and you know you missed things. This is when I went to Breast Cancer Now.

I read personal stories and information on what my diagnosis meant for HER2+ and visited their forums and further information pages. The resources and information are simply invaluable.

In December 2021, to get rid of the tumour and to give myself the best chance of life, I had a DIEP double mastectomy. Again I found the post-op info useful and followed the exercises for post-op.

Pinder giving a thumbs up wearing a pink Breast Cancer Now T-shirt

The £1k Challenge has made me realise we’re stronger than we think

I decided to take on the £1k Challenge as I finished my last cancer treatment on 6 June for Herceptin and chemo and I was six months post-op after my DIEP double mastectomy.

My main challenge would be to walk 100km during June and July to help raise money for the £1k Challenge. I felt it would help me slowly get fit again. Also, I received tremendous support from the NHS, my nurses, consultants and charities, so it was very important to give back.

I completely smashed my walking and fundraising targets

The final amount raised was £3,423, so I completely smashed my £1,000 target. I couldn't quite believe it and I’m so touched by how much support I received. Even better, I managed to raise £1,000 in less than 10 hours. Of that £3,423, I raised £631 at 'Pinder's Tea Party' which my family and I held on 24 July.

I smashed my 100km target, walking 176.2km during June and July. I had my friends and family walk with me on parts of my journey in support. I personally pledged £1 for every km I completed too, so I wasn't going to let everyone down.

This type of challenge was a first for me and I’m so proud of myself. I realised we’re stronger than we think. I had days I couldn't move, but somehow I got up and kept going.

Now I’m waiting to have my second risk-reducing surgery

My biggest fear now is what if the cancer comes back. Though I’ve fought this cancer successfully, I know that others aren’t always able to, and many women face secondary breast cancer. So it’s critical this research continues, to help save lives.

I’m currently waiting to have my second risk-reducing surgery known as bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes). This will trigger immediate menopause. As I feel like I just hit my 40s, this seems very scary, plus HRT won’t be available to me due to my circumstances.

I’m also just about to start the Moving Forward course in September. The support never stops!

Signing up is a no-brainer and you’ll have fun along the way

Don't hesitate to sign up to the £1k Challenge, it’s a no-brainer! You’ll have fun along the way and will feel incredibly proud of your achievement, knowing you did something that’ll help make a difference. Cancer never stops affecting lives every day, so let’s continue to raise money.

 

If you’ve been inspired by Pinder’s story, you too can pledge to raise £1,000 to help change the future of incurable secondary breast cancer.

Sign up to the £1k Challenge today