Kelly’s 100 miles for Breast Cancer awareness
- Credit: Supplied
Torquay hairstylist Kelly Birkinshaw has completed 100 miles in October to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.
Kelly was over seven months pregnant and aged just 34 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, setting in motion an incredible journey of courage and stoicism for a young woman who has sadly experienced the cruelty of cancer throughout her life.
When beautiful baby Ava was born to Kelly and her partner Gary Easterbrook at the beginning of August, the family had just a few weeks to celebrate their new arrival before Kelly began intensive treatment.
“Like many women with breast cancer, my first indication that something was wrong came when I found a lump on my breast in the shower,” said Kelly. “It immediately didn’t feel right and I went to see a specialist.
“In a strange way, being so far forward in my pregnancy was probably a good thing because an earlier diagnosis might have forced us to make a really difficult decision.
“I had Ava four weeks early and then began treatment a few weeks later. My process began with chemotherapy, then surgery and radiotherapy.
“Having a newborn baby actually took away some of the difficulty and worry because we had this amazing little distraction. It would have been mentally very different without Ava."
The Birkinshaw family are all too aware of the pain cancer can bring, having lost her mum Linda to cervical cancer when Kelly was just seven years-old.
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As Kelly entered the recovery stage of her treatment, the family then received the devastating news that her older sister Lucy had also been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Lucy was tested because we discovered I had the BRCA gene, which had come from my dad’s side of the family,” said Kelly. “Thankfully, Lucy has also responded really well to treatment and we hope this can be all behind us soon.”
Kelly’s 100-mile walk through October has already raised a terrific amount for breast cancer research and you can support this crucial campaign by visiting ‘Kelly’s Walk 100 Miles fundraiser for Breast Cancer’ on Facebook.