A mum who has twice battled breast cancer by the age of 39 strutted her stuff at the Macmillan fashion show this weekend.
Breast cancer survivors who have been cared for by the Macmillan Unit at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust took part in the in the annual show at Cedar Court Hotel on Sunday.
One of them will be Claire Farmer, 39, of Prospect Avenue, Sowerby Bridge, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer just days after her 36th birthday.
Doctors performed a lumpectomy and removed her lymph nodes before Claire underwent five weeks of radiotherapy and two years of the hormone blocker Tamoxifen.
But in June last year, she found another lump.
Claire, mum to Jimmy, 14, took the decision to have a double mastectomy and is currently undergoing reconstructive treatment - but has signed up to take part in the fashion show on Sunday.
She said: “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never done it before. But the Macmillan unit in Halifax are absolutely superb. I can’t praise them enough. I wanted to give something back.”
Claire started a blog of her experiences when she was first diagnosed - as a way of keeping her family and friends easily updated.
Her blog, at http://breastcancerblog.co.uk, has since developed a wide following, with comments from people with breast cancer praising her for her honesty and humour.
Claire said: “I try to blog every couple of weeks. My family are all over the place, so it was just a way of commuicating what’s going on. Quite a few people have contacted me through it and say it’s a postive way of looking at things. The most common thing is people say my blog made them laugh and cry.”
Claire admits her “warped humour” has helped her get through the past few years and refuses to let cancer rule her life.
“For me it’s about living my life hard and fast. I think it’s changed me from being a people-pleaser. You become much more true to yourself when you go through something like this.”
She said she found not looking too far ahead and setting herself personal goals helped her through the past few years.
“I remember when I was first diagnosed I just thought ‘This is going to be a massive, massive process to get through this’. But I think you can look too far ahead. So you just take each bit at a time. You do the operation, you get yourself right, you go onto the next thing - you don’t look at the big picture.
“And also setting a goal - having something to look forward to. My first goal was to get myself another horse - my third. And then when I went through it again, my goal was to get a German Shepherd dog - and he’s the light of my life.
“There’s no point being alive, and just breathing.There’s no point surviving if you’re not going to live.”
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