A 29-year-old woman from Bicester is urging others to keep their mammogram appointments as she prepares to take part in the Race for Life at Waddesdon Manor next weekend.
When Geri Burton, a property manager at Tobin Jones Property in Sheep Street, received a call at work from her mum Jan Barlow in January, she was devastated to hear doctors suspected her mother had breast cancer.
And when surgeons removed the 2mm lump from her breast they removed 20 lymph nodes from her armpit that were also affected.
Cancerous cells were also moving through her body and Mrs Barlow,54, is undergoing intensive rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Geri’s grandmother also had breast cancer and women in her family undergo mammograms every three years.
She has since found out there have been 14 cases of breast cancer at the GP surgery her mum attends.
Geri said: “Lately I’ve heard of more people in Bicester having had mammograms, and there’s 14 cases of breast cancer at my mum’s GP.
“It made me think, women must go for these mammograms because they save lives.”
Geri said she felt helpless when her mum was first diagnosed. But now, with the help of boss Tobin Jones, she has formed Jan’s Army and will take part in the three-mile Cancer Research UK Race for Life at Waddesdon Manor on Sunday, May 19.
She was aiming to raise £750, but after Mr Jones offered to match any pledges she has already raised well over £1,000.
She added: “You don’t really know how it feels until you go through it.
“I’ve been noticing adverts on television talking about how cancer affects people and how it affects relatives, and it does.
“Some days are harder than others, depending on whether there’s more test results due or a chemotherapy session.
“I’ve been taking mum to hospital to look after her, but it is horrible to watch the chemo because you know how ill it is going to make her feel.
“My brother is only 15, so he’s been very quiet, but you can see he’s upset because he keeps hugging mum.”
Geri is also undergoing tests as doctors suspect her mum’s cancer could be genetic. She added: “I’ve not been thinking about it because my main concern at the moment is with my mum. She keeps stressing to me to get tests, and I’m literally just waiting for a referal for the test. But there’s no point in worrying about until it’s happened.”
Each year in the UK around 55,000 people, including 400 men, are diagnosed with breast cancer.
To support Jan’s Army visit - www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/jansarmy.