For Moyra Bell, taking part in an upcoming charity walk in Aberdeen with a group whose friendship has spanned four decades is bound to be an emotional yet triumphant experience.
Just over a year ago, she was excitedly planning a long awaited return to the Granite City from her home in Melbourne.
But a routine letter from her local screening clinic led to a diagnosis of breast cancer, and the cancellation of her travel plans.
Tempted to put off having a mammogram until she returned, Moyra decided to attend, and then, less than a week before she was due to leave, was asked to return to the clinic.
An anomaly had shown up on her initial scan, so a further ultrasound was done – which led to the difficult news that she had DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and some signs of invasive cancer.
She said: “They took some biopsies and confirmed the diagnosis the next day. That evening my husband had to go to the travel agent to cancel our trip. We were due to fly out on the Sunday. For us both, the timing was heartbreaking.
“I am so lucky that the cancer was caught in the early stages and very treatable. I had a couple of surgeries in July last year and then started chemotherapy. I had my final treatment two months ago.”
Moyra had been due to take part in the CLAN Landmark Walk in 2013 with a group of her close friends from school, but instead, they walked it for her, calling themselves Moyra’s Belles.
This year, they will walk it once more, but this time they will be accompanied by Moyra, who is finally making the trip she was not able to last year.
“When rebooking the journey, we were delighted to find out that our new dates in Aberdeen coincided with the 2014 CLAN walk. I signed up straight away with the girls and feel it is a wonderful way to close this chapter of my life” she said.
“Their friendship has been such a support to me during my treatment and I am so looking forward to doing the walk with them. I would urge all women to ensure they are regularly checked as early detection is so important in catching breast cancer as quickly as possible. I really feel that if I had waited to have the mammogram when I got back to Australia my outcome could have been so different.”
Susan Crighton, CLAN’s fundraising manager, said: “Moyra is one of the many brave people taking part in CLAN’s Landmark Walk who have overcome so much in their lives. Her story shows the importance and value of friendship and support, but crucially, how essential it is for everyone to undergo regular health checks.
“We are delighted that she is finally able to make the trip to Aberdeen accompanying her belles after such a difficult year.”
The leading north-east cancer support charity’s popular walking event is taking place on Sunday, (September 21) and will feature two routes of 13 and 7.8 miles, which will take in a number of prominent spots and landmarks throughout the city.
CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness. Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Kirkwall and Lerwick.
For further information about CLAN Cancer Support please call (01224) 647 000 or visit www.clanhouse.org
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