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Vanessa Brown is walking the walk for Breast Cancer Care

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Sian and Vanessa are ready to take on the Pink Ribbon Walk
Sian and Vanessa are ready to take on the Pink Ribbon Walk

A mother of two who beat breast cancer is to hike 20 miles to raise money for the charity that supported her while she was sick.

Vanessa Brown, 53, who lives in Hatfield Heath, grew up in Bishop’s Stortford. She moved to the town when she was four and remained for more than 40 years. She worked at Marks and Spencer in South Street until 2004 and is now a human resources manager.

Her two grown-up children, Sian and Aaron, are former pupils of Manor Fields Primary School. Aaron went to The Bishop’s Stortford High School in Year 7 while Sian went on to Herts and Essex High School, before joining TBSHS for sixth form.

Sian, 24, will be joining her mum in June for the charity walk at Audley End House, near Saffron Walden, to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care.

Vanessa was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 after she found a lump in her breast.

“I wasn’t self-examining as regularly as I probably should have been, but I just came across a lump,” she said. “As soon as I found it I instantly had this feeling that it wasn’t good news.

“My GP referred me for tests. When I got the results a few weeks later, my husband, Tim, and I were shocked. Even though I had a feeling, I don’t think it prepares you for being told you’ve got cancer.”

She added: “Tim was very supportive – he told me we would get through it together. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

Vanessa was treated at Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Breast Care Unit at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping. She had a lumpectomy, followed by radiotherapy and a course of medication. Throughout this time, she used Breast Cancer Care’s website for information and support.

Vanessa, who completed her treatment in July 2012, has set her sights on raising funds for Breast Cancer Care so the charity can continue to provide free care, support and information for anyone affected by breast cancer.

Vanessa and Sian will tackle the 20-mile Pink Ribbon Walk, the longest that the event has to offer; participants can do a ten-mile route if they prefer.

“It’s a great cause so we wanted to push ourselves and walk the 20-mile route,” Vanessa said.

More than 62,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and the funds raised during the Pink Ribbon Walk will help the charity provide a range of support services, including specialist nurses, local face-to-face services and a vital online support network. Last year’s Pink Ribbon Walk series raised more than £585,000.

Anyone who wants to join Vanessa and Sian is welcome to do so. The tailor-made route at English Heritage’s Audley End House and Gardens will take place on June 9.

Everyone who completes the challenge will be cheered across the finish line and receive a complimentary hot meal, massage and medal.

To sign up, visit: www.breastcancercare.org.uk/ribbonwalk. There is a £39 registration fee and Breast Cancer Care is asking all walkers to raise at least £100.

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