A fund-raising appeal has been launched to help a mum diagnosed with incurable cancer make memories with her young son.
Michelle Smith, 32, found out just six weeks ago that she had breast cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes and into her bloodstream.
I’m trying to keep active for my little boy. Although he’s only one, I don’t want him to pick up on anything. He’s keeping me goingMichelle Smith
She had a lump in her breast, but it was so small that she did not know it was there until it was found during a scan.
Michelle was undergoing genetic testing and other screening to see if she was at risk as breast cancer was in her family.
Her mother Linda Thomas died of breast cancer in her late 30s and her sister Danielle Smith was diagnosed with the disease 18 months ago at the age of 29.
Michelle, who lives in Scholes, said: “It’s been a complete shock. I couldn’t believe it.
“The most shocking thing is I wasn’t aware of it. Because there were no symptoms, if I didn’t go for the early screening, I wouldn’t have known about it. I don’t know how long it’s been there.”
Michelle was told she was eligible for early screening after going to the genetics clinic.
She initially had an MRI scan and was asked to go back to the hospital for a biopsy, ultrasound and mammogram because doctors had found something.
The lump only measured 1cm, but unfortunately the cancer was found to have spread.
She was told the disease was incurable, but started chemotherapy treatment last week in a bid to stop it spreading further.
Michelle, who has a partner Kieron Elsden and one-year-old son George, said: “I’m not doing too badly. I feel a bit tired, but it’s what’s expected from the chemotherapy.
“I’m trying to keep active for my little boy. Although he’s only one, I don’t want him to pick up on anything. He’s keeping me going.”
After being told she had breast cancer, Michelle received the results of the genetic testing which showed she did not have the breast cancer gene.
She urged other people to consider being tested if they were concerned about a family history of breast cancer.
She said: “If you have a family history, push to go to a genetic clinic.”
To help Michelle and her family, colleagues at Heron Day Nursery in Wigan, where she works as a nursery nurse, have launched a fund-raising campaign.
They hope to raise £4,000 so they can go on holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Michelle said: “They are doing so much for me. I can’t thank them enough.
“They have set up a Go Fund Me page, they are doing cake sales in the nursery, they did a car wash for all the parents, they are doing a sponsored bounce. They are doing so much.
“I would like to go to Disneyland Paris to create some memories with my little boy.”
The appeal has already passed £1,300, with more money expected when a sponsored bounce is held at the nursery on Thursday.
And a fun day is being planned for Friday, July 14 at Higher Ince Social Club, where there will be singers, DJs, stalls, a tombola and other attractions.
It is hoped the fund-raising goal will be met at that event so the family can go on the trip as soon as possible.
Nursery manager Lyndsey Pemberton said: “Michelle has worked for us for the past 12 months. Everyone always says people have a heart of gold but she really does.
“She is a fantastic mum and is fantastic with all the children here.
“It’s good to give something to someone who really deserves it.”
To make a donation to the appeal click here
Anyone wishing to get involved with the fund-raising events can call Lyndsey at the nursery on 01942 202198.