On 28th May 2022 I'm taking part in a planned walk where a number of us will be raising money for After Breast Cancer Diagnosis motivational exercise retreats. The challenge is the 3 Saddleworth Peaks and we'll be completing it in 8 hours.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2018 and attended the retreat in 2019 and this is my way of giving something back to these amazing weekends which are enormously supportive and beneficial.
At the time I was lucky enough to attend the retreat I wasn't in a very good place. I was still having treatment, had undergone 3 surgeries, recently had sepsis and my mental health was at a low point. Where I had previously been a confident person with a successful career, that was all gone. With no financial income, my career lost, no confidence, low self-esteem, in a lot of pain from surgery and chemotherapy side effects and with very limited support. It wasn't just me who needed a break from it all, my sons also needed a break from me!
When Jo contacted me to say there was a cancellation and I could have a place to say I was delighted is an understatement - this was exactly what I needed and I was so excited to attend and meet others going through similar to me. I hadn't spent one night away from home (apart from hospital) since my diagnosis.
The retreat surpassed all my expectations and for the first time in a long time I felt like the old me again. We cycled, ran, walked, climbed, talked, did yoga, ate lovely food, had cocktails and stayed in a fabulous inn - it was just amazing. I was so humbled by the force of nature that is Jo Taylor - an exceptional lady who tirelessly works for the good of others, both with her campaigning and running the fabulous retreats, while herself having stage 4 breast cancer and years and years of treatments, which will continue for the rest of her life.
During the weekend I felt my confidence return and a feeling that there was hope after all this, I hadn't felt as positive in a long time. Things haven't gone as smoothly for me as I had hoped since then - but that's another story. These retreats are literally a light in your life when you really need it - I want to raise as much as I possibly can to give something back and ensure that these retreats continue to provide support and hope for the many women who attend them.