I found out I was BRCA1 at the age of 28, after my mum was tested and found positive. She had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 43, having lost her own mother to Ovarian Cancer when she was young. Tragically, she then lost her sister to the same cancer.
My sister was tested too, but fortunately she was not a carrier of the faulty gene.
This left me with some big decisions to make about my own future. With an 85% chance of developing Breast Cancer in my lifetime, and a 60% chance of ovarian cancer, was I happy to play a game of chance?
I opted for surveillance for several years and in that time I had my 2 children. However, that was not without its stress as each year at my mammogram and MRI scan, I was normally recalled for further tests "just in case".
Once I had my children, it was like someone had flicked a switch. I just knew I had to take preventative action to ensure that I was still going to be around to see them grow up and they wouldn't grow up without a mother.
There was little about in terms of support for woman like myself at that point. I felt very alone and desperately wanted to speak to someone who had been in the same position as me, After opening up to a very dear friend of mine, she mentioned she knew a lady who had been in a similar positon to me and promised to introduce us. That was the moment I met Elizabeth Leech who supported me from there onwards.
I have now had both a Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy and a Hysterectomy to reduce both my breast and ovarian cancer risks. I didn't realise how much the anxiety of it was weighing me down until after my surgeries.
I am now passionate about supporting other woman like me and as well as helping to run this very special group, I volunteer for Breast Cancer Care.
I hope I can guide many more ladies through what is a very emotional journey and it is something that I will always continue to do.