At a glance Vicky Gill appears to have it all. A beautiful home, two grown-up children, a successful businessman husband and she’s the proprietor of a popular ladies-only gym.
Yet just a few years ago, her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice.
Despite undergoing chemotherapy, radiography, having a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy to remove the significant risk to her body, she has emerged stronger.
And it was her battle with cancer that led her to the business she now runs.
Vicky first learnt she had breast cancer in 2000.
“My world fell apart. I had the lump removed followed by chemotherapy and radiography. Slowly I began to rebuild my life, and four years later when I went for my yearly check up I was told I would be signed off the following year. Finally there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.”
But the positivity was short-lived. On October 20, 2004, Vicky was told the cancer had returned and she would need a mastectomy.
As the cancer returned, she was told she had a chance of developing ovarian cancer and a hysterectomy was her only option.
Vicky had reconstructive surgery on her breast and it took a long time for her to fully recover. Eventually she started seeing friends again and getting out of the house.
One of those friends bought her a membership for Gymophobics in Sowerby Bridge, telling her she thought it would be good for her.
“She said she would come along with me and for three weeks we went together. Then one day she said she couldn’t go and I should go on my own.
“It was the best thing I ever did. I became part of the group and continued going three times a week. I really enjoyed doing the exercise, which I’d never really done before.”
Later, she learnt she carried the BRCA gene, which increases her risk of developing breast cancer and decided to have her other breast removed.
“For the first time I felt in control. I had reconstructive surgery straight after. Finally I could put it all behind me and get on with my life.”
Vicky went back to the gym and was asked if she would like to work there a few hours a week - “I hadn’t worked for such a long time so it was great to get out, meet people and do something for me.”
But in July 2013, it emerged the gym that had become Vicky’s lifeline was facing closure. She discussed it with her husband John and made the decision to take it over.
“I could not bear the thought of losing a job I loved and all the lovely members not having a gym to go to,” she said.
Four days after the announcement was made, Vicky took over, changing the business’ name to Fitness 4 Ladies.
“If I hadn’t have fought cancer I would never have even gone inside a gym, let alone run one. You have to focus on the positives. Grab every opportunity you can.”