Michelle's memories all thanks to you
A mum with incurable breast cancer is looking forward to a brighter 2018 thanks to the generosity of Wiganers.
Michelle Smith found out she had the disease in May and it had spread to her lymph nodes and into her bloodstream.
As she underwent treatment, her friends, relatives and even strangers rallied round and raised money for Michelle and her family.
Her colleagues at Heron Day Nursery in Wigan, where she works as a nursery nurse, hoped to raise £4,000 to send the family to Disneyland Paris.
But their fund-raising campaign snowballed and a massive £14,000 has been raised.
Michelle, who lives in Whelley, said: “I just can’t believe it - it’s unbelievable. So many people have pulled together. It’s really nice.”
Fund-raising events included cake sales and a sponsored bounce at the nursery, a fun day and a netball tournament.
Michelle, 32, hopes to book the holiday to Disneyland Paris for March and will go with her partner Kieron Elsden, two-year-old son George and stepdaughter Amelia, five.
There are now plans for a second trip to allow her to make more memories with her family.
She said: “I’m also going to book Lapland. We have raised so much money that we can go to Lapland next Christmas.”
Michelle could not have predicted what 2017 would have in store when the clock struck midnight last New Year.
She found out in May that she had breast cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes and into her bloodstream.
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 when she was just in her late 30s and her sister Danielle Smith had been diagnosed with the disease 18 months earlier at the age of only 29.
Her older sister Charlene Aspinall is now planning to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction as a precaution as she has the breast cancer gene.
Michelle was told her illness is incurable, but she underwent chemotherapy treatment to stop its spreading further.
She also had a double mastectomy in October and will have radiotherapy every day for three weeks.
Doctors are positive that the treatment is having an impact.
Michelle said: “When I had my last scan and my operation, they said the chemo had worked very well with my body.
“It was in five of my lymph nodes but two were only traces so the chemo has cleared it.”
Michelle spent Christmas Day with her family and had a big surprise when Kieron proposed.
She said: “I never in a million years thought we would get engaged, it was a big shock.”
She then enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve at home with Kieron and their children.
And she has plenty to look forward to in 2018.
“I’m hoping it will be a new year and a good year. I can’t wait. I keep saying let’s hope next year will be a good one and I’m feeling positive,” she said.