CancerCare campaign: ‘My family said I’d saved my own life’

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  • Brave mum records her own rendition of Victoria Wood classic
  • Filmed after her treatment surrounded by family and friends
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“It was like a sucker punch.” This was how mum-of-three Sarah Drake felt when she was told she had breast 
cancer at the tender age of 34.

Sarah had only just given birth to her son Henry 12 months before her diagnosis.

Cancer Care Campaign Volunteer Sarah Drake from Slyne with her dog Teddy

Cancer Care Campaign Volunteer Sarah Drake from Slyne with her dog Teddy

She said: “It was January 2o13 and Simon (my husband) and I went to the breast unit, we were shown into a room and given a gown. I thought ‘this isn’t good’. All of a sudden the room filled with Macmillan nurses,and doctors. The specialist took my hand and said, ‘It’s cancer’. It was like a sucker punch. The room span and everything got muffled. It’s pure shock.

“Someone said would I like a cup of tea and I thought, never mind a cup of tea I want a glass of wine! That is when things change, the next two weeks after that were a whirlwind. “

Sarah, 37, of Hest Bank, who has three sons, George, 11, Will, nine and Henry, four, and is married to Simon, also 37, had to endure a mastectomy and a round of chemotherapy and also requested that her other breast was removed too.

During the period she was ill she kept the seriousness of her illness from her kids and couldn’t even utter the word ‘cancer.’

Sarah Drake with sons, George, Will and Henry

Sarah Drake with sons, George, Will and Henry

Eighteen months ago the hospital referred Sarah to CancerCare. She said: “I was talking to my breast care nurse and she decided I had still not processed what had happened, I’d just auto-piloted. I totally knew whathad happened but I kept thinking, I’ve done all the hard work. You just need someone to hold your hand. I met Andrea Partridge at CancerCare and we sat down and had a coffee and she was very honest with me. She was very inspiring andshe was the trigger. I started having counselling and my counsellor was amazing,You come out the other side with a much better understanding of what you have been through. “

The only symptom Sarah had of her breast cancer was a throbbing sensation in her left breast after she had been on a power walk.

She said: “It just niggled now and then but I knew something wasn’t right. On my third trip to my GP she referred me to the breast unit. I had a mammogram, which was clear, an ultrasound, which was clear, a biopsy, which was clear but I still felt something was wrong so I had a further biopsy which showed I had cancer. Breast cancer is dfficult to pinpoint. I was at a young age. My family kept saying I had saved my own life. “

Sarah and her husband Simon told their two eldest children George and Will about her cancer with help from the Children and Young People’s therapist at CancerCare.

CancerCare Counts campaign logo.

CancerCare Counts campaign logo.

Sarah said: “Will called me his superhero. George told his friend at football, ‘My mum smashed cancer!’

“I’m doing a Phoenix ball in aid of CancerCare to raise awareness as my way of giving a little back. They werewith me in the dark and now they can dance in the light. If I can help just one person by telling my story then it’s worth it.

“I’m just grateful and lucky to be here.”

worldwide campaign

Sarah and Simon Drake on their wedding day in 2002

Sarah and Simon Drake on their wedding day in 2002

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Now aim to get as many people as possible involved in raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Along with their supporters, they do this through campaigning, collecting, an array of events across the UK as well as wearing it pink. Famous and beautiful landmarks across the UK – including Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial – have turned pink during October to remind the nation to support the campaign.

about our campaign

The Lancaster Guardian CancerCare Counts campaign aims to raise cash for CancerCare and awareness of the charity.

Here’s some ways you can help:

lOrganise your own event – hold a coffee morning or a bake-off at your work or school. lHost a pamper evening with your friends or organise a pub quiz. CancerCare can support you every step of the way and provide you with all the materials you might need including collection tins or buckets. Email the fundraising team fundraising@cancercare.org.uk

lMake a donation. Text CCAR31 TO 70070 with the amount or donate at cancercare.org.uk/donate.

nCall CancerCare on 01524 381820.