After seeing her mum Lesley go through breast cancer just three years before, and losing her grandmother to the disease, Rachel was quick to act when she found a lump in her breast. She was just 32 years old.


“Telling my mum was really difficult. After finding the lump whilst doing a routine check lying bed, I pulled my mum aside at a family barbeque and just blurted it out. I wasn’t worried until I saw her reaction. She just broke down in tears. We’d lost my Nana to cancer that same week, so mum insisted we ring her consultant straight away.

“As my husband was away with work, mum came with me to the appointment with the consultant. We’d been quite reassured and told that it was probably nothing to worry about. But following the biopsy, I just had this dreaded feeling it was going to be bad news and unfortunately it was.”

Rachel underwent a double mastectomy, 4 and a half months of chemotherapy and a full lymph node removal.


“After seeing my mum go through it and how resilient and strong she’d been, I had hope. She’d had a hard time, but she was really informed and the fact that we had the very same cancer, made me feel like ‘I can do this.’ I thought, ‘I’m younger, I have a great support network’ and in a strange way, finding out that I had breast cancer was easier than finding out mum had it.

“She was a huge support to my husband so he could continue working. I couldn’t have done it without her. She introduced me to her support group of breast cancer survivors, all different ages, which was very empowering. It was a friendship group, we all understood one another.”

Rachel was a newlywed when she was given the diagnosis. She was devastated, as her husband Edward and her had been planning to start a family, and treatments can affect fertility. She quickly made the decision to try IVF, on her doctor’s recommendation.

Rachel said:

“I was told the chances of me falling pregnant was virtually nil so I was feeling really despondent and quite low. I never thought I would have children naturally.

“After the final round of IVF I was told it had been unsuccessful and then the following month I fell pregnant naturally and it was just an absolute dream come true.

“I’m so blessed. I can’t believe I’ve had two beautiful sons, naturally, and now I’m sat here waiting for the next arrival later this year.”

Lesley, 65, said:

“When Rachel told me about her lump I nearly died of fright. It was absolutely one of the worst moments of my life.

“When we went back for the results of the biopsy, I just knew when I saw the consultants face that it was going to be bad news, and it was. It was the worst day ever.

“I felt far worse for her than I did for myself because she was only 32, she’d just got married, I knew how much she wanted children, she was desperate to be a mother. I wanted her to have what I’d had in terms of a family; it was a terrible feeling.

“Because I’d been through it myself I had lots of information and a support network behind me so I rallied all the girls I could. They were fantastic. They provided a safety net to catch her when she fell.

“When I found out Rachel had conceived naturally, after a failed IVF attempt, I was hysterical with delight. It was such a miracle.”

Rachel and her mum were already so close, but being there for each other, overcoming so much adversity in their lives has helped them to become true #BosomBuddies.

You can dress in solidarity with Rachel and Lesley by shopping our amazing M&S collection, with 30% of the purchase price of each item donating to Breast Cancer Now to help us to fund life-saving research.