‘Kiss this cancer, I won’t stop for you’

“I’m Chantele – and I have incurable secondary breast cancer. But I’m never going to let that define me. I’m a marathon finisher. A clifftop challenger. A mum. A wife.

“I first found out I had breast cancer in 2012, after finding a lump in my breast while I was doing my regular check. After GP visits, hospital trips and a whole load of tests – the diagnosis was still a total shock to both my husband Phil and I. We told the kids straight away. I needed them to know what was happening while I was coming home exhausted, with all my chemo, radiotherapy and even surgeries going on at the same time.

“After all my treatments, I had a full year of thinking I was well again, building my strength back and making incredible memories with my family, who had been so strong through it all.

“Then, in 2014, I found a lump in my neck. After how the first lump had turned out, this was never going to be good news. More tests. The results showed that the cancer had spread to my lung, lymph nodes, neck and chest. It was all over me – and now it was incurable. Just imagine trying to break that to your kids.

“But, with all the heartbreak and fear that comes with this diagnosis, I was offered hope. A drug called Kadcyla, which I have to take every three weeks. It’s working really well for me; the cancer has disappeared from everywhere apart from the tumour in the lung – but that’s only the size of a pinprick now.

“So here I am. Still alive four years later. In fact, I feel so good on my treatment that sometimes I think my kids forget I’m sick at all. These days, I organise the ‘Rashbrook Runners’, where I train a group of around 40 women where I live in Kent to run up to marathon distances. I even ran the marathon in 2015, a year after my secondary diagnosis, and smashed my personal best too. Running is my life – and breast cancer was never going to take that away from me. So, kiss this, cancer.”

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