Tessa was pregnant when she found a lump in her breast, she wasn’t sure if she and her unborn baby were going to make it to Christmas.
Tessa desperately wanted to be a mum and after multiple fertility surgeries and IVFs, she found out it was finally going to happen for her.
But three months into the pregnancy she found a lump. An ultrasound found more lumps under her arms and after she was sent her a biopsy, her worst fears were confirmed.
Tessa was 40 years old, three months pregnant and now everything could be ruined by having breast cancer.
She was finally going to be a mum and all she would worry about was whether she and her baby were going to make it to Christmas.
This year, nearly 55,000 women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer since last Christmas, not knowing if this Christmas will be their last. Will you donate to Breast Cancer Now’s research and give hope for a future where all of those facing the disease will live?
Tessa started chemo at the end of November 2015. The drugs made her feel dreadful and she could only think of how the baby was, but the doctors assured her that it was okay.
She had a mastectomy at 28 weeks, but she was so scared that her cancer was going to spread and become incurable. That’s what the doctors call secondary breast cancer. The doctors couldn’t give Tessa the tests to see if it had already spread as it would harm the baby, so on top of everything else, the fear of dying from secondary breast cancer was never far from her mind.
Breast Cancer Now’s researchers, like the brilliant Dr Alison Gartland who is working at the University of Sheffield, are working to find ways to stop breast cancer spreading and give hope to those who have the disease.
With the help of donations made by Breast Cancer Now supporters, Dr Gartland has already made a discovery about a molecule that enables breast cancer to spread to the bones. As she continues her work, she hopes she will be able to develop treatments to stop cancer spreading to the bones, which will ultimately save more lives.
Can you donate this Christmas so Breast Cancer Now can continue to fund groundbreaking research working to stop breast cancer taking lives? We hope you might write a message of support for our researchers when you make your donation so they know what their incredible work means to you.
Just before Christmas in 2015, Tessa had to have the baby early via a caesarean so that she could continue to get the breast cancer treatment she needed.
Isabella Grace was 10 weeks early, but she was healthy and beautiful, and she arrived just in time for Tessa and her partner, Marc, to spend their first Christmas as a family together – she was their Christmas miracle.
Tessa was still scared that cancer could have already spread, but on New Year's Eve, weeks after giving birth, she was told it hadn’t and that her cancer was treatable. Isabella is now a healthy toddler and Tessa has had a chance to watch her grow.
Tessa was one of the lucky ones, but that’s not the case for everyone. Around 11,500 more women in the UK will be missing from Christmas celebrations this year - no one should have to lose a mum, a sister, partner or friend to breast cancer. Could you give to support Breast Cancer Now’s research this Christmas, and give those facing breast cancer hope for many Christmases to come?