A 31-year-old mum-of-two who has been diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time has been told it is incurable, so she is fundraising to help create special family memories in the time she has left.
Ashley Smith, who lived in Lincoln with her husband and children before moving to Worcester, said it was a massive shock when she was first diagnosed with grade three primary breast cancer in 2018 at the aged of 28. It is a fast growing cancer, but was caught early enough to be treated.
After chemotherapy and mastectomy surgery, Ashley had to stay on hormone therapy to keep her node clearance before four weeks of radiotherapy. She was then told in January 2019 that she was cancer free, which she said at the time was a “huge relief”.
Ashley found a new lump, but this time in her neck, in September this year. After several scans and biopsies she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer as it had travelled to another area – lymph nodes in her neck.
Sadly, Ashley was told that the cancer is incurable and she is on a tablet form of chemotherapy which will keep the cancer at bay for as long as possible, and hopefully stop it growing and spreading anywhere else.
She is also having scans every three months to see how the cancer is progressing, and hopes the treatment will “keep me going for as long as possible”.
The mum of seven-year-old Oscar and nine-year-old Mia has now been told that sadly this time there is no cure.
She has set up a fundraiser to help her do as many fun things with her children as possible to make special family memories together – make a donation here.
Ashley, who previously studied at Lincoln College, had to give up her job as a beauty therapist in Worcester last month. She now wants to raise awareness to help young people get diagnosed quicker.
She told The Lincolnite: “It was even more of a shock as it had come back in an area I wasn’t told to check (neck) and to be told it’s not curable was even worse.
“My husband Alex was just as shocked as me, but he’s so supportive and is there for me and the kids very step of the way.
“The children understand that I’m poorly, but don’t understand there is no cure for it this time. They have been supportive giving me cuddles, cheering me up, and making me laugh.
“I am basically living to each scan and taking each day as it comes. I want to also encourage other young people to check for lumps.
“People should always check and if they find anything such as lumps, changes in the skin, abnormal nipples, or any new rashes they should make sure they push their doctors to get diagnosed quicker. If getting my story out there can help anyone else get diagnosed earlier it would mean a lot to me.”
Ashley has been left feeling overwhelmed after the positive response from her fundraiser.
She hopes to use the money to take her family on days out, including to the Harry Potter Studios as the children are both obsessed with the stories.
She would also love to take her family back to a luxury farm they previously stayed at in St Austell, Cornwall, and for days out, including in Lincolnshire to Skegness beach and back to Lincoln.
Ashley loves returning to Lincoln, where her mum Julie Summers and sister Chelsey Cottrill still live. The family always enjoy going up to Lincoln Cathedral and Castle.
On the fundraising page, Ashley added: “While I can I would love to be able to do all the fun things with them (Alex, Mia and Oscar) and take them to special places and make lots of memories with them.
“With me not working those things are just thoughts at the moment, but maybe with some help we could actually tick off some of the things on the living list that we would love to do together. This would mean so much to us all as a family and we are so very grateful.”