A Caerphilly nan living with cancer is to feature on a Mother’s Day card sold in Tesco stores across the country to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Kirsty Henderson, 52, has her inspiring story and photograph included on a card designed by Hallmark which is on sale in all large Tesco stores. It is hoped the card and Kirsty’s story will connect with and support people affected by the disease, as well as raising funds.
Kirsty’s cancer journey began in 2014 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now living with a cancerous tumour behind her right eye which is under control thanks to radiotherapy and a pioneering new cancer treatment.
Kirsty, who lives with her husband Philip, said: “I had breast cancer and I now have secondary breast cancer behind my right eye, which, because of its position is inoperable.”
A biopsy revealed Kirsty had breast cancer after she noticed a lump and some unusual changes in her breast.
She said: “I discovered a lump in my left breast and went to the GP and was referred to a consultant. But within days my nipple had inverted and the whole left breast collapsed in on itself.”
Kirsty had a mastectomy then found out her cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. She had further surgery to remove the cancerous lymph nodes and then had chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She said: “A check-up in 2015 showed I was all clear, as did four mammograms on the right side, and everything was fine until I started to get headaches in summer 2018.
“As I was about to take my teenage granddaughter to a festival, I wanted to get the headaches sorted out, so I went to the doctor. However, the migraine pills I was given didn’t help, nor did beta blockers and other medication I was given. I even went to Casualty – it felt like a meteor shower going off in my head.
“When I was prescribed a CT scan in September, I was relieved, as I felt I was being taken seriously finally as I’m not a regular at the doctors”
When Kirsty found out she had an inoperable tumour she was determined to stay positive.
She said: “I feel very positive about life, as I now have a fabulous team who look after me and any aches or pains will be investigated.
“The tumour was the size of a plum but since having five hours of radiotherapy and being on pioneering cancer drugs, the tumour has shrunk and is less aggressive.
“I have regular MRI scans and blood tests to make sure the cancer is no worse and although I know cancer will eventually kill me, it won’t be today, tomorrow or next month, so I’m not going to let it take over. Phil and I have a very sound relationship and try to stay upbeat and strong.”
Tesco is celebrating its 20th year of partnership with Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life – a series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
Money raised through Race for Life events funds world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.
Kirsty, a grandmother-of-four, knows exactly how vital it is to keep raising funds for life saving research. “I’m able to live a happy normal life thanks to research and treatment. I know how important it is to keep raising awareness and money for the vital work that Cancer Research UK does. I did a Pretty Muddy in 2019. It was the best fun ever and I didn’t miss an obstacle. If I can do it, I reckon anyone can.
She added: “I have to keep going because of my girls and the only way I could keep ahead of the situation was to keep smiling and use my humour to get through it. I’m so proud to support Race for Life and Tesco and be part of this collection of Mother’s Day cards.”
Kirsty is pictured on the Mother’s Day card dressed in a pink t-shirt after taking part in the mud-splattered Race for Life Pretty Muddy obstacle course. Tesco, Hallmark and Cancer Research UK will be presenting Kirsty with a special framed version of her card to mark the occasion and thank her for sharing her story.
Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Charity Campaigns at Tesco said: “We hope these cards will inspire others facing cancer and the money they raise will make a difference to so many lives.
“For the last 20 years, our partnership with Cancer Research UK has helped to raise millions of pounds for life-saving research.”
COVID-19 has caused a devastating loss of research funding. Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk. That’s why the charity is calling on people across the region to fight back against the devastating disease by purchasing one of the special cards. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.
Every year, around 19,300 people are diagnosed with the disease in Wales* and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.**
Ruth Amies, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Wales, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Kirsty and Tesco for their support.
“By purchasing one of the Mother’s Day cards people can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
“The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.
“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters. This year, more than ever, we need support to help beat the disease.”
The Mother’s Day cards which are priced from £1 are on sale in large Tesco stores until March 14.