Wigan mum who beat cancer is heading to Scottish Highlands with celebrities

A cancer survivor is joining a team of celebrities for a mammoth challenge to raise money for the fight against the disease.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:55 am

Shelley Benbow was just 33 when she found a lump in her breast in 2014 and was diagnosed with cancer.

While receiving treatment, she read about the work of charity CoppaFeel and decided to get involved as a volunteer, dubbed a “boobette”.

Now, the mum of two is preparing for a 100km trek through the Scottish Highlands in a fund-raising challenge for the charity.

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Shelley Benbow

She will be joined by around 100 other walkers, including celebrities Giovanna Fletcher, Emma Willis and Gemma Atkinson.

Shelley, who lives in Lowton, said: “I will be trekking over 100km over five days and climbing some of the Scottish Munros.

“I’m looking forward to it but I am really nervous. I only found out quite late about my place and I have a lot of fund-raising to do and a big list of equipment needed.”

She will take on the challenge in September and hopes to raise £1,000 for CoppaFeel, with local businesses donating a host of prizes for a raffle to boost her tally.

The trek comes seven years after Shelley, now 41, found a lump while showering and her husband Terrance encouraged her to see her GP.

She was referred for tests straight away and given the heartbreaking news that she had breast cancer.

She said: “I was completely in shock. I don’t think I cried at the time because it felt really surreal.

“My children then were only four and two. I think it took a little while to sink it. I was worried I wouldn’t see them go to high school and all sorts of things like that.”

Shelley had surgery to remove the lump, before having a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction.

Six weeks after surgery she started chemotherapy, followed by medication which she continues to take.

Now there is no evidence of the disease in her body.

Shelley said: “I’m really grateful. The Tamoxifen has a lot of side effects - because it’s a hormone drug you get menopausal symptoms so some days are good and some days are bad.”

Shelley now volunteers as a “boobette”, going into schools, workplaces and to events to talk about the importance of checking your chest regularly.

She said: “I hate public speaking and meeting new people, so it was really out of my comfort zone, but I felt that my story helped other people so I needed to use it in a positive way rather than dwell on what happened.”

She urged people to check themselves and be aware of any changes for could signify cancer.

Shelley, who works for an insurance broker, said: “If you do check regularly once a month, then you can go to your GP with the information that this isn’t normal for you.”

To sponsor Shelley or take part in her raffle, go to coppafeel.enthuse.com/pf/shelley-benbow-2a7f4 or email her at [email protected]o.uk

For more information about CoppaFeel and breast cancer, go to coppafeel.org

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