Cookstown's walk for Action Cancer returns

A sea of pink will sweep through Cookstown as the Cookstown Action Cancer Community Group hosts its new breast cancer walk, Breast Foot Forward, sponsored by SuperValu on Friday, October 22, at 7pm.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 10:57 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 11:00 am

Previously called The Bra Walk, it has a new name and a new date but the same great reason to take part.

Taking place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breast Foot Forward, a five mile fundraising walk, is an opportunity for men, women and children of all ages to take part in the family event, helping to raise awareness of breast cancer and funds for the charity.

There is no registration fee and instead the charity is asking people to help raise funds for their local Cookstown Action Cancer Group, which helps the charity to provide services in the local area. All participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of £120 in sponsorship, the amount it costs Action Cancer to provide digital breast screening for one woman aged 40–49 and over 70. All participants will receive a free Breast Foot Forward T-shirt.

Anne Nelson, Cookstown Action Cancer Group founder.

Community Groups Executive, Mark Irwin-Watson, said “Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic Action Cancer has lost out on 40% of our fundraising income.

“We were devastated to miss the Cookstown walk in 2020 and so are delighted to be back and able once again to walk with our BFFs and put our Breast Foot Forward for Action Cancer.”

Group founder, Anne Nelson said, “The Cookstown Action Cancer Community Group was established by myself and Tracy Martin and is in fact celebrating its 12th anniversary this year having been formed in 2009. Since then the group has organised an annual sponsored walk in the town which, thanks to the kindness and support of the local community, we have raised, over those years, a staggering £46,200.”

Breast screening

Anne is herself an Action Cancer ambassador having used the charity’s breast screening service in 2005 resulting in a diagnosis. “I saw a bright pink advert for Action Cancer in our local paper. I read that they screened women aged 40 - 49, and as I was coming 45 that year I thought I should go and get checked out.

“The next day my colleague and I made our appointments. After our mammograms we made a day of it and went for lunch like we hadn’t a care in the world! It was a week later that I received an envelope from Action Cancer referring me to hospital for further screening. My scan showed these two little black areas. I then had a number of biopsies and a core biopsy – the results of which wouldn’t be available for four days. It was the longest weekend of my life. I got a phone call from the hospital asking me to come down the next day for my results. It was my 45th birthday that day. The doctor told me that I had two cancer tumors on my left breast but they were both small and had been detected early. If I had even waited another six months things would have been very different. I agreed to go for the surgery on 23 December. On 6 January, 2006, I was told the cancer had spread to the glands under my arm. I needed more surgery and then three forms of treatment: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the cancer tablet.

“Although it was incredibly hard at times, I got through it. Life is back to normal for me and my family. I celebrated my 60th Birthday last year, I am now over 15 years free of cancer. I have survived to see our three children married and am enjoying life with our five wonderful grandchildren, these were milestones in my life that I didn’t think I would ever see.

“I feel I owe my life to Action Cancer because if it hadn’t been for their screening programme, I might not be here to tell my story. Therefore, I’m calling on all men, women and children to join us on 0n 22nd October and help us raise vital funds for this amazing charity so other women can celebrate these milestones, just like me.”

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