Our supporter, Emma, shares her experience of featuring in The Last One campaign and how raising awareness of secondary breast cancer has led to making memories with her children.

Thursday 8 October 2015      Guest blog

Emma with her eldest daughter, Gracie

Where shall I begin? Since I was lucky enough to appear in the Last One campaign, my life has gone a bit mad!

The Daily Mirror wanted my take as a single mum, of life with cancer. Having never done anything like this before, I was unsure of how to start but I started writing and it all just came out - eight pages of the past 12 months of my life.

It was like therapy writing it all down; a simple, honest account of the highs and lows of living with cancer.

Supporting Breast Cancer Now - The Last One campaign

I was invited to the Breast Cancer Now charity launch along with some other ladies from YBCN (Younger Breast Cancer Network UK) who also appeared in the ad. We all had an amazing night at Tower Bridge Walkway and felt like mini-stars!

I was also asked to be the face of a nationwide campaign for Breast Cancer Now which was just brilliant - rather surreal seeing my face on the tubes and trains though, and even more strange when my friends messaged me to tell me I was looking at them while they were in the toilet!

It was important to me because I wanted to help raise awareness of secondary breast cancer and also the fact that you don't have to be old to get it.

I shared the Mirror article on my Facebook wall and it was a bit like 'coming out'. Only my close family and friends knew that I was living with secondary breast cancer. Everyone else thought I was on the mend because I ‘look so well'.

My bucket list

Everyone's reactions were lovely though and I have had plenty of offers of help with the children, the school run and food shopping, to name a few.

One friend in particular, Amy, wanted to help in a different way altogether. She asked if I minded if she did a bit of fundraising for us so that I could tick off my bucket list and make memories with my three children.

I thought that maybe she'd hold a couple of pub quizzes and raise £50, but I was wrong. Amy set up a gofundme page and had set a £5000 target, and in just a few hours we had raised an amazing amount of money.

Gofundme got in touch with Amy to tell her that we had raised the amount in the quickest time they had ever seen! Both friends and complete strangers shared my page all over Facebook and the response was phenomenal.

After a couple of days, Amy had upped the target to £10,000. One lady got in touch with me to ask me to meet her as she wanted to donate, but wanted to do it anonymously off the page. I nervously met her in a coffee shop in town and after chatting for a good hour, she wrote me a cheque for £1000! I was gobsmacked.

We'd only just met, but she had read my story and wanted to help. I'm honoured to now call her my friend. A DJ from BBC Three Counties radio, Justin Dealey, also saw my story and the team wanted to do an interview about me, my fundraising page and how the community had got behind me.

Justin the DJ came to the house and we pre-recorded the interview. It was really strange but exciting at the same time. It aired on the Monday and the donations to the page went mad again, and the Daily Mirror did another feature.

Making memories with my family

Then I got another shock. Someone anonymously donated £5500, taking us just over the £10,000 mark! My local newspaper wanted to run a story too, so I did a phone interview for that and also featured on the front page of My Kings News, a local community magazine. A lady gave me and the children her tickets to see The Lion King after she'd read about us.

The radio got in touch again when they heard about the large donation and when I went live on air, I thanked everyone for their generosity and kindness. I have been completely blown away. Things like this do not happen to me!

Thanks to the generosity, I was able to take the children to Disneyland Paris during the summer holidays and we all had an amazing time. We are also going to see One Direction at the O2 soon.

I thought everything had quietened down, but then I had an email from the lovely people at Willow asking if I'd be the guest of honour at the opening of their new shop in town.

I've previously had a special day organised by Willow and know first-hand how brilliant they are. I got to cut the ribbon and met the CEO of the charity.

It was an amazing morning as before I went down to the shop, I appeared on my local Heart radio station and told the world (ok just Herts, Beds and Bucks!) that I was opening a shop. I'm sure everyone must be getting sick and tired of seeing my mug everywhere!

Thank you

So, to sum it up, my life since the ad has consisted of lots of press and out-of-the-ordinary events - five newspaper/magazine articles, three radio interviews, a charity launch, a nationwide poster campaign and one shop opening.

Not bad, eh? Every cloud has a silver lining…

I'd like to thank everyone for their support in recent months. It has really meant such a lot to me and the children. I'm currently thinking of our next escapade!

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