Loretta Mooney shares her inspiring story as she joins Prevent Breast Cancer’s 100 Club.

Loretta Mooney Kellands

We are proud to announce that Kellands Chartered Financial Planner, Loretta Mooney, has joined the ‘100 Club’ fundraising initiative to build the National Breast Imaging Academy at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Over the next year Loretta has committed to raising an incredible £10,000 towards the building of this life-saving Academy.

This is a cause close to Loretta’s heart, having been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer herself. As she embarks on her fundraising journey, she has kindly agreed to share her inspiring story.

Loretta’s story

Nearly 9 years ago the last thing I expected to find was a breast lump. I was a healthy lady, fit and active in my early 50s, with a can-do positive glass half full attitude. To say it was a surprise was a total understatement. These things happened to other people, not someone like me, or so I thought.

I found a tiny lump about the size of a grain of rice. You think you need to get it checked as each time you check it is still there; you haven’t imagined it. After revisiting said lump and it was still there a couple of days later after checking in on it every few hours, the time had come to report it.

People often say that when there is something wrong, they have a sense that they know the outcome. From the first time I found it and felt my heart in my mouth as my stomach turned over, I already knew that it wasn’t going to be good news and with a heavy heart called the GP surgery. It did come as a shock even though I knew and to say I was dumbfounded to be told officially within a couple of weeks of finding my lump that it was malignant.

I was diagnosed with a Grade 2, Ductal, In situ Carcinoma, Triple Negative cancer. For those of you who are more interested in the lurid details about the diagnosis you can get further information about the terminology from Google. However, to us lay folks, it was the Big C.

After a lumpectomy the hospital advised that my diagnosis was Triple Negative, and I was recommended a course of chemo (12 cycles) and then 15 days of radiotherapy. Even in this short space of time since my diagnosis and treatment, the plan has already evolved again to be less invasive in these few years. The wonders of modern medicine and research!

Throughout the 7-month period of treatment to say the doctors, surgeons, nurses, volunteers, admin, pharmacy and the all-important tea lady to everyone involved in this great machinery at the Christie and Nightingale Centre is absolutely amazing to say the least. I thank you all.

Before you are treated, and you start to find out what it will entail, along with the anecdotal stories, you are spending a considerable amount of your time with the Nightingale team. To say that the centre is a happy, cheerful, positive, and an uplifting place is not doing it justice especially as most of us are there because we have cancer.

It is true to say it is a happy, welcoming and inviting environment which radiates so much joy, hope and love.

Anyway, once I had gotten over the shock, I then reverted to my normal default mode of being organised and started planning what the next few months would be like.

How would I work? I needed to work as I would be bored. Could I do my chemo on a Friday? Why, as I could rest over the weekend and probably be able to work come Monday. Would this allow me to work a short week? What would I feel like? How much exercise could I do? How tired would I get during the chemo course? Onto the other 101 questions!

The big one for me was the hair but not in the way you think. I was told that after the first chemo it would go lank, it would start to come out a little. By number 2, it would be really dull and lifeless and coming out in great lumps, and by number 3, who knows what a state it would be in!

I could opt for a cold cap, but many friends said that it didn’t work for them, and some said it was worse than the chemo. Others said it doubled the treatment time each session to get that set up, then the chemo, and it might not even work.

Easy answer – I had it shaved off before I started treatment, then it was one less thing to try and plan around and I could control the process. I would not be finding hair coming out in clumps, getting upset, trying to work, but conscious of how bad it might be and as a typical female I didn’t want to look a sight! If I was going to be out and about and getting on with things as much as I could I didn’t need the additional hair complications or emotion, so went for the nuclear option. As someone who was always bored at the hairdressers once I had been there more than an hour (you are getting the theme) and felt going was always a bit of a chore, having no hair followed by short hair was actually amazing!

I am delighted to say that the treatment worked, and I was given the ‘all clear’. The Nightingale team saved my life, and I can never express sufficiently my debt of gratitude and thanks.

This is why I am so committed to help spread the good news about their work and to help and support them financially. Without this financial support none of the great work, development and progression can take place.

Fundraising for the National Breast Imaging Academy

Prevent Breast Cancer’s mantra is: Predict, Prevent, Protect. To predict who is at risk of breast cancer, prevent them from getting the disease and to protect future generations.

The charity is situated at The Nightingale Centre, Wythenshawe hospital, which is the only breast cancer prevention centre in the UK, which means they’re right at the front-line in the fight against the disease. This key advantage point has led to recognising severe workforce shortages within breast imaging, at a time when preventative measures and early diagnosis has never been more critical.

Indeed, incidence of breast cancer continue to rise, and it remains the most common cancer in the UK. With GP referrals to breast units doubling in the last ten years, it is the biggest cause of death in women aged between 35 and 49.

Alarmingly, the need for breast imaging is increasing at the same time as there are severe shortages amongst breast imaging staff. This has already led to several breast centres closing nationally, placing even greater pressures on the remaining units.

The National Breast Imaging Academy will be an extension of The Nightingale Centre and will provide a solution to these workforce shortages by delivering the space and facilities to train a sustainable workforce to support breast services across the country. This cutting-edge building will also allow the additional capacity for research into breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and will enable an extra 13,000 patients to be seen each year for breast screening.

Once the new facilities are operational, it is estimated to save the NHS £50 million over a ten-year period.

With £2.08 million committed, another £1.7 million is required to make this building a reality, to enhance breast services and save a great many lives.

How we can support the charity

The team at Kellands will be helping Loretta with her incredible mission but any donations to help her reach her target would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the link to her Just Giving page loretta mooney is fundraising for Prevent Breast Cancer (justgiving.com)

We hope you can join us in supporting this great charity to help change and improve the quality and life expectancy of so many people and their families.  Interested in finding out more about the 100 Club and how you too can make a difference?  You can find more information about it here.

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