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Laughter and Walking Boots Help to Raise £5000 for Macmillan Cancer Care

The group of walkers with some of the children at Windermere School before they set off © Russell Colman Photography
The group of walkers with some of the children at Windermere School before they set off © Russell Colman Photography

Local mum-of-three, Andrea Batten-Gray, has raised in excess of £5000 for Macmillan Cancer Care thanks to some ‘laughter therapy’ leading to the organisation of a charity walk.

Andrea, who lives in Penny Bridge, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015 and immediately set about fighting this horrible illness, undergoing six months of aggressive chemotherapy and surgery, including a mastectomy. However, in July 2015, Andrea learned that the cancer had become Stage 4 Breast Cancer, also known as Metastatic Breast Cancer, having spread to her liver and her bones.

Andrea with her husband David and their youngest child, Sebastian © Russell Colman Photography
Andrea with her husband David and their youngest child, Sebastian © Russell Colman Photography

On hearing this awful news, Andrea says that some kind of survival instinct inside her just kicked in, that she wasn’t going to simply give in. Driven on by the thought of her three children, Andrea embarked on a positive rebellion against the illness and moved her treatment to the Christie in Manchester in October 2015, a place Andrea has described as a ‘healing centre’. It is also the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, treating more than 44,000 patients every year.

Shortly after moving her treatment, Andrea enrolled on an online course, The Cancer Whisperer, having read the hugely impactful book of the same name by Sophie Sabbage. In April this year Andrea found out that, against all the odds, she was in remission and at this stage decided to do something positive for other cancer sufferers.

Andrea said: “After I was diagnosed with cancer I would meet other mums from school and we would go for a coffee. We called it my ‘laughter therapy’, because just chatting and laughing together is often what you need when you are suffering. This was when we came up with the idea of doing a charity walk.

“We decided that we could do something really worthwhile between dropping the children off at school in the morning and picking them up later that day. So the idea of ‘From Drop Off to Pick Up was born.”

Just under fifty friends and family, many of them fellow school mums, started the walk at Windermere School, where all three of Andrea’s children are pupils. Cheered on by the some of the school children, the walkers set off for the Brown Horse in Winster where the Winster Valley Brewery Company laid on a complimentary lunch, before returning to the school in time to collect their children.

As well as raising valuable funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Andrea also hoped to raise awareness of Metastatic Breast Cancer. Although this form of cancer is incurable, it can be treated, and modern treatment has led to a dramatic improvement in survival rates for women diagnosed today.

Andrea adds: “When I was initially diagnosed with breast cancer, there was lots of information and support locally, but now it has become Stage 4, it’s as if there is nobody else in my situation, and I’m sure this isn’t the case.

“My aim is to raise awareness and hopefully establish a support group for other women with the same diagnosis.”

The event proved to be a great focus for Andrea and she was thrilled that so many people gave up their time and turned out to support her and Macmillan. Her husband David said:, “The event was something Andrea has talked about doing for a while, so as soon as she became well enough, she started planning it. We are completely overwhelmed by all the kindness and support we have had from everyone.”

The family would like to thank everyone who has helped out in the planning of the event, or donated to this cause. The JustGiving page is still live so if you would like to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrea-batten or if you would like to contact Andrea please either email [email protected] or call 07775 434266.

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