“I was told that my specialist had a hunch that it had been caught early and that I would likely have surgery and radiotherapy. I kept thinking ‘I can deal with this.’’”
Initially anxious to share her diagnosis with her close friends, Denise eventually decided to document her treatment on her Facebook page ‘Roast Beef & Raspberries’, offering her thoughts and support for women facing similar situations.
“I’d say that I’m a very confident person, but I didn’t really want anybody to know,” she explains. “I told my dad, I told close family but it took me a good few days to summon up the confidence to tell close friends without breaking down.”
Over the coming months, Denise would have regular contact with the hospital’s breast care team, who she describes as ‘simply amazing’.
“When they say ‘if you’re worried about anything, ring us’, they really do mean it,” she says. “They listen, they care and are so kind in what understandably is a terrifying experience. They organise for you to see your consultant if needs be. They are amazing.”
It is because of this why Denise is urging people to join her on this year’s Twilight Walk for Women’s Health – an event Denise says is of absolute importance to women like her.
“It means everything,” says Denise. “Not just to breast cancer patients, but all women’s health patients.
“It’s not just about money, it’s also about people taking time out to consider other people. Not just for their own purpose, but for the purpose of supporting others.”
Twilight Walk for Women’s Health is open to all ages and abilities with men and boys encouraged to join along too. Hundreds of people have already signed up for the event on BHCharity.org/twilight/ and will amass on the Bournemouth Pier Approach on 18 May.
“Some women aren’t as lucky as me,” Denise says. “They might be up on the Oncology Ward at the moment receiving chemotherapy – they might not have even survived their diagnosis. But for every person that tries to do something to help, it gives those of us experiencing this disease that increased bit of strength. It gives hope and that helps us get through.
“It means everything that people in their hundreds take part in events like Twilight Walk for Women’s Health – some of them every single year. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. We need more people to do more! And to those that do help, thank you.”
Anyone wanting to sign up and show their support for women in their community can do so at BHCharity.org/twilight/ or by calling the Charity Office on 01202 704060.