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Larkfield woman Laura Clarke talks about her breast cancer experience ahead of this year's Pink Ribbonwalk at Leeds Castle

By Angela Cole

There are five little embryos waiting patiently for Laura Clarke.

She was just 29 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer,a lump in her breast, but delayed her treatment to have her her eggs harvested so that she and husband James could one day would have the chance of a family.

“It was something I needed to look forward to at the end of the treatment, knowing they were there” she said.

Ironically, discovering she had breast cancer came at the same time that she had started thinking about having a family.

“It was such a surprise,” she said. “I found a lump in the shower one day. I thought ‘it’s going to be a cyst”, 29-year-olds with no family history don’t get breast cancer’. It was such a shock. I went to my GP and I was referred to the breast unit within two weeks. It was like a whirlwind.

Laura Clarke, from Larkfield, with her husband James, before her diagnosis with breast cancer at just 29.

“The support I have had from my friends and my family has been amazing - it’s true you find out who your friends are; who is there for you. But it was like a whirlwind.”

Laura from Larkfield, who was diagnosed in November 2012, started chemotherapy days after the preservative fertility treatment.

She had 28 eggs harvested, from which five embryos were created, before she started chemotherapy days later and went on to have a lumpectomy and, before undergoing radiotherapy.

Losing her nails and having her dead straight hair grow back curly were also side effects she has learnt to live had to learn to live with.

Laura Clarke underwent treatment for breast cancer

For the cardiac physiologist at Maidstone Hospital losing her nails and having her straight hair grow back curly were side effects she learnt to live with. She also went to a support group, and joined the Young Women’s Forum for Breast Cancer, which is aimed at women under 45s, who often have different issues to older women battling the disease.

“It really helped to talk to someone who understands your worries and lets you talk, and isn’t just worried about you,” she said. “It is quite rare for someone of my age and history. to have this. My friends never checked themselves before. It was pure luck really to find it. Now we all check.”

Last year's Breast Cancer Care Pink Ribbonwalk at Leeds Castle

The support services Laura was able to use are just some of what Breast Cancer Care provides, through funds raised by events like the Pink Ribbonwalk, which will be held for the second year running at Leeds Castle, on Saturday, June 7. To sign up for the event, supported by the KM Group, which has 10 or 20-mile routes contact www.breastcancercare.org.uk/walk, or call 0870 145 0101.

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