In August 2015 my sister Joanna was diagnosed with breast cancer. Joanna was only 28 years old at the time, because of her age, the type of cancer and how aggressive it was, the consultant requested genetic testing.
The result of the tests came back showing that she was BRCA, meaning she had a genetic disposition to breast and ovarian cancer. As we are a family of 4 sisters the rest of us got tested, with myself and one other sister also being BRCA 1.
Joanna fought hard and with chemo, reduced the lump from 4.6cm to 0.5cm. Joanna followed chemo with a double mastectomy. After checking her lymphs, she was told the cancer was gone and need no further treatment.
Fast forward to 2018!
Before Joanna's diagnosis, she had a little girl called Iyla. Joanna was worried that following chemo she may not have more children...
Kash was born in March 2018, Joanna and Arun's surprise baby!
Everything had seemed to return to normal, my sister and I had our double mastectomies and Joanna was doing well.
Then Joanna started to complain about feeling tired shortly after Kash was born; normal for a mum of a new born and a 3 year old. Unfortunately it was not.
In October 2018 Joanna was rushed into hospital, she had started blacking out.
We were given the devastating news...
The cancer was back, and it was everywhere!
We were in shock, we thought it had gone, but apparently cancer can travel through the blood.
We almost lost Joanna in October to liver failure, caused by the cancer completely covering it.
They told her that her cancer is metastatic and that there is no cure!
Joanna is currently on chemo, which will end in the next couple of weeks. She has responded incredibly well to treatment, but has been told that once chemo stops she will return to the condition she was in when she was rushed to hospital in October.
When I found out I was at a loss, I didn't know what I could do to help. After careful consideration I decided I would start fundraising; details of where the money is going can found out by clicking the buttons below.
And So people1stfestival was born
A little more info: We are a family of 4 sisters, 3 of us have BRCA 1 having found out because my younger sister had breast cancer. We’ve all had mastectomies, and have provided support for each other, especially through difficult times when Joanna and Charlotte who’ve had children since their mastectomies have been encouraged to breast feed.
My words of encouragement:
Shoulda, coulda, woulda doesn’t change your current situation. When we are unable to change what is happening to us we must change who we are. Always remain hopeful but never stop being realistic in your expectations, it helps to prevent disappointment and the loss of hope.