A digital midwife from North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) NHS Foundation Trust is determined to raise both awareness, to help others, and funds to help vital research after her devastating cancer diagnosis.
Julie Haigh and, inspired by her love of paddle boarding, is now organising a sponsored ‘Wear It Pink’ paddle boarding event on September 18, at 6.30am on Ullswater.
Julie explained it was actually after a session in the Lakes what happened when she first discovered a lump.
She said: “Taking my wetsuit off after a great paddle boarding session at Crummock Water I was getting changed and as I moved my hand to take off one of the sleeves, I felt something hard under my arm at the edge of my breast and froze.
“Confused and questioning had I felt that before? Shaking off the immediate shock and dismissing it until later, I headed off for home.”
Julie said she initially dismissed the lump as another cyst but the nagging doubt was there.
She said: “Thankfully I work with some great people and didn’t hesitate to ask them to have a feel, I didn’t want to waste the doctor’s time but they persuaded me to call.
“This is partly my reason for sharing my story, was I religious in checking myself? No. Is it easy enough to do? Yes. Could it save your life? Yes. Is it treatable? So much more now due to research and tailoring of treatment based on the type of cancer.”
Since starting on her arduous Cancer journey, she has praised the care and treatment she has had on her journey so far.
She said: “From the one stop Breast Clinic at CIC through to starting chemotherapy I have met the most amazing staff at both the Cumberland Infirmary and at West Cumberland Hospital.
“There isn’t a single person who I wouldn’t thank along my journey. My journey has required surgery, treatment and medication but that’s not the case for every lump. So I would say, if in doubt check it out.”
At the start of her journey, Julie wanted to do something for Cancer Now, which organises the ‘Wear It Pink’ campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Week in October.
She said: “Research and information are so vital to help improve outcomes from breast cancer for men and women. What would be better than a ‘Wear it Pink’ Paddle where people can join me? Or, if that’s not for you they can help me increase the £810 raised already and donate.”
The paddle takes place a week after Julie’s second chemotherapy cycle.
She said: “I might not be able to paddle but never fear, one of the amazing companies I use has offered to loan me a board big enough for me to sit while others do all the work for a beautiful sunrise.”
Donations can be made here.