Andi was given the frightening news that she had breast cancer in 2018 and the first thing she thought of was her two-year-old son, then of her boyfriend. Being fit and healthy, except for feeling like something wasn’t quite right with her right breast, the diagnosis came as a shock and she faced a gruelling series of treatments for the rest of the year. Now, Andi feels like she’s one of the lucky ones and just shy of one year after her diagnosis, she will cycle 100km through London at night in support of Women V Cancer. Here, Andi shares her story.
In the early part of 2018, I noticed that my right breast was no longer like a 'tea bag' (from breast feeding) but had become a bit firmer. Initially, I didn't think much of it, after being told by the GP that I had dense breasts and it was nothing to worry about, but she would refer me to the breast clinic anyway. It was on the 15th June 2018 that I heard those words: “I am sorry, but you have breast cancer.”
My initial thoughts were, “What about my two-year-old son?” as I sobbed and thought my life was over! The night before, I was at work as a police dog handler, out searching for an offender and living with my gorgeous boyfriend and son. Life was great, with my wonderful family and my dream job. But when I heard those few words, I thought my life was ending. I was told that it was an aggressive cancer, which had spread to my lymph nodes, but it was treatable with chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
My chemotherapy started in July and lasted for three months. Then in November, I had my mastectomy. Currently, I’m waiting to have three weeks of radiotherapy, which starts at the end of January. I will then have a three-weekly injection until the end of 2019.
I’m taking part in Women V Cancer Ride the Night London, because I have had a year I never expected. It was actually a friend, who suggested it. She survived breast cancer thirteen years ago and she has been amazing with me and has come with me to all my appointments and treatments.
I was fit before this inconvenience, but I have been lucky in that I have been able to continue exercising, even though I’ve had a few side effects. I actually completed a 30-mile cancer charity cycle on a tandem, just two days after my fifth chemo, raising funds for a local cancer charity. I was used to running, having taken part in several half marathons, a couple of marathons, numerous cycling events and triathlons, and so was determined to maintain as much exercise and fitness as I could. My motivation came from seeing my two-year-old son running around and knowing I needed to stay fit and healthy to keep up with him! I was also very keen to get back to my dream job.
I am really proud to have some of my friends/colleagues joining me on the cycle, some of whom haven't been on a bike for years!! With a WhatsApp group set up, we are keeping each other motivated to train. All of us have been affected in some way by cancer, losing close friends and family members, so this unique event brings us together to raise funds for the vital research. Even though I have cycled great distances before, I know it will be tough at times, but always up for a challenge, I am planning to add to this by completing it on a tandem!
I think the evening will be fun but emotional and I can’t wait! I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones and not one to give up. It has gone and the radiotherapy is just making sure and the risk of it returning now is the same as for the next woman. This success is thanks to a huge amount of money that charities have raised and the research that has been done.
What is Women V Cancer Ride the Night?
Over the last five years, thousands of women have cycled 100km through London at night and raised over £6 million for Women V Cancer, which brings together Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. Through the combined work of these three incredibly important charities, Women V Cancer is committed to supporting the thousands of people across the UK who are sadly affected by women’s cancers and researching into developing effective treatments and cures for ovarian, breast and cervical cancers.
In summer 2019, Ride the Night is back for its sixth year, not just in London but in Edinburgh as well! With a second city in 2019, we hope to get even more people involved so we can make an even bigger impact in a cause that grows ever more critical.
Thank you very much to Andi and to all the ladies already registered for Ride the Night 2019 - it's always an amazing, inspiring and incredibly emotional night and we can't wait to see you there.
If you'd like to join this incredible team of women on this awesome challenge, you still have time to register. The deadline to sign up for Ride the Night is 12 April 2019 for London and 17 May 2019 for Edinburgh; but places are limited, so we advise you to register soon.