The MoonWalk gives me confidence to talk about my cancer

Volunteers at the moonwalk scotlandweb

Christine McLaughlin is urging other women to make a pledge to fundraise to mark International Women’s Day

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7th March 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer in October 2018.

I’d felt a very obvious lump in my breast and assumed it was a cyst. I’d been really healthy up until that point and had no history of breast cancer in my immediate family. Having said that, I had a very strong awareness of breast cancer and I also have a twin sister whose work is in developing oncology drugs.

But it still wasn’t really in my mind that the lump would be cancer and I was convinced it was nothing to worry about.

I’ve just finished six rounds of chemotherapy over 18 weeks and am having a lumpectomy later this month and then radiotherapy.  Thankfully my cancer was caught early and there’s already been a 75 per cent reduction in the tumour from the chemotherapy, so the outcome so far is positive.

Christine McLaughlin

Christine McLaughlin

In my job, one of my many responsibilities is managing the capital budget for the NHS, which includes the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh – which is where I’m having my surgery in March and then radiotherapy, although I’ve had most of the rest of my treatment at St John’s Hospital in Livingston which is close to where I live.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the Breast Cancer Unit at the Western General and I saw a sign on the wall celebrating the grants which Walk the Walk has made. I’d already signed up for The MoonWalk Scotland at that point, but I hadn’t told everyone I was taking part, or indeed about my breast cancer.

Having seen that Walk the Walk sign and the positive impact of the grant first hand, it gave me the courage to be more public about my own diagnosis and I decided to tweet about my fundraising effort.

Through doing events like The MoonWalk and raising money, my goal is that everyone should be able to get all the help and support they need at whatever stage in their own cancer journey.

In its 14th year, The MoonWalk Scotland, organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, has to date raised more than £21.3million. This is granted to make a difference to people in Scotland who are living with cancer now.

Do something positive this International Women’s Day and sign up to take part in The MoonWalk Scotland, on Saturday 8 June. Power walk through the streets of Edinburgh at Midnight wearing a decorated bra, as you raise money and awareness for breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk.

Christine McLaughlin is chief finance officer for NHS Scotland in the Scottish Government