Breast cancer patient speaks out in support of charity day

A Croydon woman living with terminal cancer has urged the public to support Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Bonnie Fox, 40, from Croydon, was first diagnosed in July 2015, but is able to live relatively normally thanks to drugs provided by the NHS.

However, Bonnie, who is married and has a two-year-old son, Barnaby, was told her cancer is incurable and that it already spread to her liver and bones.

Leading cancer charity Breast Cancer Now want people to raise money by ‘wearing it pink’ in support of women like Bonnie, and while survival rates are increasing, it is clear that a terminal diagnosis is no longer the end of the road.

Of her illness, Bonnie said: “I didn’t understand what it meant at first and that when it spreads elsewhere it’s incurable.

“Lots of people ask if I’ve finished treatment now. They don’t realise that you are incurable.”

Bonnie fronted Breast Cancer Now’s successful campaign last year to keep Kadcyla, the drug she will need to use when her current ones stop having an effect.

She admitted that when campaigning it can be difficult to strike a balance between making it fun and keeping it honest.

She said: “You want people to fundraise, but you have to be honest because breast cancer isn’t always curable.

“But I’m very much a glass half full person and want to show people that you can live well with secondary breast cancer.”

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country recently came under fire, as only 42 of 208 were making preventative drugs routinely available to eligible patients.

Three of the six CCGs in South West London were at fault, but Bonnie praised the NHS treatment she has received in South West London, particularly at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton.

She said: “It’s an absolutely brilliant hospital and I can’t fault the treatment I’ve had.

“Everyone realises the NHS is so torn in different directions and tough decisions have to be made.
“But when it’s you, it’s not so easy to think like that.”

Bonnie knows that her breast cancer will never go away and it is a horrible uncertainty that she has to live with.

But she is hopeful that more can be done to raise awareness of secondary breast cancer and that progress can continue to be made.

For more information, visit the Wear It Pink website.

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