Selfie of Louise outside

I held an Afternoon Tea to mark the first anniversary of finishing active treatment

Having endured her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment alone during the pandemic, mum Louise discovered a perfect way to spend time with loved ones while raising money for a cause close to her heart.

My family has a strong connection to cancer  

My mum had breast cancer, then got secondary cancer and died at the age of 38, leaving my older brother and myself to be brought up by our dad, who later died of liver and lung cancer.  

In 2020 I went for a routine mammogram. I didn’t have any symptoms of breast cancer, but the scan showed something, so I was called back for a  biopsy. 

I was alone when I received my diagnosis – that was overwhelming 

I was diagnosed with a grade 3 breast cancer. Obviously, it’s difficult to receive a cancer diagnosis at any time but having to go through it while COVID-19 was happening was even harder.  

Because of restrictions, I got the news alone. That was overwhelming. I was tearful, scared and uncertain. It was a time when I really needed my loved ones, but they couldn’t be there. I was anxious and angry. 

I needed surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy which I finished in August 2021. I’m now on hormone therapy. 

Finishing breast cancer treatment was very daunting 

To be honest, I found things harder to deal with after treatment had finished. When that happens, people think you’re back to your old self again. But that’s not true.  

It’s very daunting not having regular appointments or being surrounded by doctors and nurses like before. You worry about cancer returning, and you can’t talk to the treatment team about it.  

My advice is to take things one day at a time  

Through this experience, I've learnt it’s so important to keep talking to family, friends or services that can offer support. I attended Breast Cancer Now’s Moving Forward course which was a great resource for me.     

If I could go back and give myself some advice, it would be to take things 1 day at a time, 1 treatment at a time. Try not to think or worry about things that are too far ahead – just concentrate on what’s coming next. 

I wanted to mark a year since I finished treatment  

I decided to hold an Afternoon Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Now exactly 1 year after I finished active treatment. It felt important to mark that time in my life and I wanted to do something to give back to a charity and cause that I hold close to my heart. 

To start off, I decorated my home with lots of pink accessories and the materials from the Afternoon Tea fundraising kit. Family and friends started to arrive, we had lots of cakes, sandwiches and other yummy foods.  

Cupcake stands in the kitchen

My top tip? Fun games promote fundraising 

My top tip would be to play a few games from the fundraising kit you get when you sign up, it gets the conversation going, is good fun and helps to raise funds if you ask for a suggested donation.   

My Afternoon Tea was a brilliant way to spend time with those I love, mark the occasion and feel the support from my family and friends. There was a lot of fun and laughter - it was a lovely afternoon had by all. 

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