A CARDIFF mum who discovered she had breast cancer following a routine mammogram appointment is supporting Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign, Walk All Over Cancer.
Lucia Pavia Mardon was 53 when she attended her third annual breast cancer screening test at Breast Test Wales in Cardiff.
She didn’t think there would be a problem as she regularly checked her breasts and couldn’t feel a lump.
But after attending the appointment, she received a letter inviting her for further tests.
A biopsy revealed the mum of two from Splott had breast cancer.
As a result, she had two lumpectomy surgeries followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy.
Lucia, 58, said: “I couldn’t feel the lump and neither could the doctor as it was deep underneath the nipple.
“The mammogram saved my life. That’s why it’s so important for people to attend their screenings.”
Now cancer free, Lucia is inviting people to sign up now and get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps every day in March to support the charity’s life-saving mission.
Lucia, who raised almost £1000 for Cancer Research UK when she took part in the challenge two years ago, knows first-hand just how important new breakthroughs and discoveries are to help more people like her survive.
She said: “I was devastated when I found out I had cancer. There’s no family history of breast cancer in the family so it was a shock.
“Nothing can prepare you for those words. But thanks to research, I’m still here today and can go on spending time with my lovely family. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone in Wales to step up to the Walk All Over Cancer challenge this March.”
Lucia, who is taking part in Walk All Over Cancer again next month, found out she had cancer a month after booking her Cyprus wedding.
“I didn’t think the wedding would be going ahead but I was so thrilled when I finished treatment and Robert and I got married in Cyprus three months later,” said Lucia. “It was a very special and emotional day.”
Lucia is still taking a hormone treatment called Letrazol and attended her most recent mammogram before Christmas.
She said: “It did feel a bit more worrying going during the Covid-19 pandemic, but I felt very safe when I was there and I have since found out I’m all clear so it was definitely worth the trip.”
Cancer has also affected members of her family as her younger sister, Catherine Pavia, sadly died from skin cancer when she was 41.
Lucia, mum to Anthony and Joel, said: “Her mole was only tiny so I also really feel strongly about being safe in the sun.”
Lucia, a grandmother of two, but her sister’s children, Rhiannon and Ross, also call her ‘Nan’ as they are so close said: “We have taken part in Race for Life events to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and we all feel very passionate about raising funds for the charity.
“I would also very much encourage people to attend their screening appointments. If I’ve made a difference to just one person to rebook that appointment they missed or cancelled, then I’m happy.”
By raising vital funds, people across Wales could help to get vital research back on track after the impact of COVID-19.
There are plenty of positive health benefits too. As well as helping towards a healthy body weight, taking part could also take a little weight off the mind. Regular walking is a great stress-reliever and can assist with mental wellbeing by improving mood and sleep.
Ruth Amies, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Wales, said: “We all want 2021 to have a more positive outlook. So why not give yourself a boost by committing to get more active and having an achievable goal to aim for – all in aid of a good cause.
“Signing up to Walk All Over Cancer is a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times. Plus, knowing you’ll be helping to save lives is the ultimate motivation.”
Ten thousand steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s strides, so by the end of March participants will have clocked up more than 150 miles.
That’s quite a challenge for some, but adopting small changes that you can stick to can really add up – whether it’s taking part in conference calls on the go, exploring local beauty spots or treating the dog to a month of extra-long walks.
Keeping check on the number of steps taken each day is a great way to create a sense of achievement and it’s easy to do with smartphone apps, pedometers and wearable activity trackers available to help. Walk All Over Cancer is now integrated with FitBit, so that participants can automatically publish their step count on their fundraising page throughout the month.
Ruth Amies added: “With around 19,300 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the Wales*, Cancer Research UK is working every day to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.
“The truth is COVID-19 has slowed us down, but we will never stop striving to create better treatments for tomorrow. Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters. That’s why we need everyone to step up to Walk All Over Cancer.”
Cancer Research UK currently funds almost half of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK and is the only UK charity fighting more than 200 types of cancer.
Before the pandemic, it was able to spend around £4 million in Wales last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
To sign up and receive a free fundraising pack, with tips and ideas to help with the challenge, visit cruk.org/walkallover.
Participants are being encouraged to use #WalkAllOverCancer and tag @CR_UK when sharing their challenge on social media.