Michelle was diagnosed with Grade 3 HER2+ breast cancer in October 2020. Both of her sisters were also diagnosed. Sadly, her eldest sister Tracey died of secondary breast cancer in 2016. Her younger sister, Nikki, was diagnosed while Michelle was in treatment.

A little bit about me  

I’m 55, married to Hugh, a Scotsman, for 24 years, and I have a daughter who’s 22 and a son who’s 21. I live in Old Windsor, Berkshire. I’ve worked in the charity sector for the last 10.5 years which I loved. It’s such a rewarding thing to do. And I value my family and friendships over anything else. 

I’m a founding member of the Drambuie Sniffers, a touring hockey team which I helped to establish in 1993. We’re part of Ashford Hockey Club. The ‘Sniffers’ tour shirts are pink. Sadly, I no longer play but I get my kicks from non-playing tours. Some of us have been friends since we were 12 years old!  

In my spare time, I like to volunteer in my local community. I’m a member of the litter picking team and I get involved in fundraising coffee mornings for charities. I have 2 dogs called Robbie and Luna. and I enjoy walking them in Windsor Great Park. This is something I did during my treatment to keep active.  

My sister and I were both tested for the BRCA gene, but it came back negative  

The hospital told us that there probably was a genetic connection, but so far, research hadn’t been able to establish one. Nikki had a double mastectomy straight to reconstruction because of the family history. Once my chemo had finished, I too had a double mastectomy. I am still flat now, but I hope to have a reconstruction in the future. 

I’m the proud wearer of 2 knitted knockers! I had a total response to the chemo and I’m now nearly 2 years disease free. 

Nikki and Michelle wearing pink
Michelle and Nikki

My husband Hugh was amazing  

We were in the middle of lockdown when I was diagnosed, but he had been allowed in with me when I received the news. He was so practical, as I was literally frozen with fear thinking that I was going to die like my sister. He marched me straight round to my parents to tell them the news and then to phone my other sister Nikki. 

My family's support was incredible  

Because I knew I’d be losing my hair to chemo, I didn’t want to keep my treatment a secret. I set up a WhatsApp group of trusted friends to act as gatekeepers. The ‘Boob Army’ as they were named, protected me from being bombarded with questions, sympathy and gifts from well-wishing friends, which I knew I would find overwhelming.  

I joined a local Facebook support group and that’s where I heard about the Breast Cancer Now’s monthly chemo threads. I was due to have my first round of chemotherapy at the end of January 2021, so I joined both the January and February starters. I really gelled with some ladies from the January group. We’ve since gone away on weekends together and we're still a great strength of support for each other as we continue our journeys.  

I also used the Someone Like Me service at Breast Cancer Now to ask about options on reconstruction. 

I didn’t know there were so many different kinds of breast cancer 

Before I had breast cancer myself, I had no idea there were so many different types, so anything that raises awareness of this is so important.  

I’m so grateful to anyone who has helped fundraise for research into cancer cures and treatments as I’ve now experienced first-hand how important this is. If I can do anything to raise awareness of Breast Cancer Now, I’ll do it. I hold coffee mornings on wear it pink day and I play the Pink Ribbon Lottery. I’ve also just signed up to do the Pink Ribbon Walk and I sponsor a breast cancer nurse.  

One piece of advice about hosting a wear it pink event would be to have fun. What you’re doing is so important and will have a long-lasting effect on people you’re close to. Make it memorable, have a laugh, and raise those valuable pennies. 

Michelle wearing pink

Michelle’s sister Nikki also took part in the wear it pink photoshoot. You can read her story here.  

Wear it pink like Michelle  

On Friday 18 October, wear pink. Raise money. Help fund life-changing breast cancer research and support. 

Sign up today

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