Samantha has been connected with our charity for many years now - firstly as a supporter and then as a patient following her own cancer diagnosis. Samantha kindly shared her story at the 2023 Ladies Lunch at the Hilton in Glasgow.
PICTURED: Samantha with her two children
Samantha has always held our charity in high regard after her aunt used the services during her treatment for breast cancer. To show her support, Samantha and her family took part in the 2021 Kiltwalk fundraising for our charity.
However, Samantha was unaware of the challenges that lay ahead. In 2021, she was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
Samantha said: "In 2021, I walked a 23-mile Kiltwalk with my mum, daughter, auntie and nephew and raised £4000 for Beatson Cancer Charity, who have always held a special place in our hearts, after they graciously nursed my aunt, as she lost her battle to breast cancer.
"Little did I know that one year on, I would be standing at the Ladies Lunch, completely bald, winning the famous Mulberry handbag - as I too was receiving support from The Beatson, in my own fight against cancer. I found a lump in my right breast and within two weeks, on the 14th October 2021, I was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer which had spread to my lymph nodes."
This was a time of uncertainty for Samantha who had many ongoing commitments despite the shocking news of her cancer diagnosis.
Samantha said: "Tears started to flow but I pushed them back in, hung up the phone, broke the news to my husband, got ready and drove to my friend's house- because the next day was her wedding, and I was the bridesmaid."
Samantha managed to stay strong and complete her bridesmaid duties despite feeling the emotional and physical effects of her diagnosis.
Samantha said: "I kept this life-changing information to myself and performed the bridesmaid duties allowing my friend to have the wedding day she deserved. I always get asked how I managed this, and the honest answer is- a couple of glasses of champagne, my husband's hand and the knowledge that as soon as we broke the news of my cancer, our lives would be changed forever."
The diagnosis meant that Samantha had to undergo over 12 months of various treatments. This unpredictable time meant that her life no longer felt like her own.
Samantha said: "For over a year, our lives consisted of chemotherapy, surgery with full node clearance, 19 sessions of radiation, countless scans, blood tests and many more twists and turns throughout. Our lives were not our own and we found ourselves in a weird cancer bubble that to this day feels like a dream."
During the difficult period Samantha tried to keep her life as normal as possible. She provided herself with reasons to keep going.
She continued: "I made sure I saw my daughter Emma and son Tom out to school every day, no matter how awful I was feeling because being mum was my reason to keep fighting and not give up."
The journey was challenging, and both Samantha and her family felt the impact cancer can have.
PICTURED: Samantha with her children
Samantha said: "I can't thank my family enough for their love, support and faith in me as a fighter. Cancer took a lot from me: my hair, my body, my control, my fertility and, at times, my confidence."
"What it never took was my voice and I gained some of that control back, the first time I shared my story."
One year on, Samantha is embracing life after cancer and plans to continue to support Beatson Cancer Charity.
Samantha said: "It is true what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Well cancer, you tried but you failed.
"One year on and I am in remission, living my new normal, continuing to raise awareness and give hope to anyone going through a diagnosis."
To support more patients like Samantha, please donate here.