A Tesco worker believed she had been sentenced to death after finding a pea-sized lump on her chest in the bath.
Debbie Layfield was running a bath at her home in Claughton, Wirral, when she answered a phone call from a family member who had found a lump. The mum-of-three tried to reassure her family member the lump would probably be nothing to worry about, but when she got into the bath moments later, Debbie was shocked to find she was also a lump on his chest.
Debbie, whose youngest child was in primary school at the time, went to see her GP following the chance phone call and she was immediately referred to Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. The 44-year-old underwent a series of tests in one afternoon and at 4pm she was told she had breast cancer.
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During this time, a member of Debbie’s family learned that she had a non-cancerous lump. Debbie said she was in total disbelief after being diagnosed and had trouble speaking.
In the audio recording for Cancer Research UK, she said: ‘My first thoughts when the doctor told me were that I wouldn’t see my children growing up, getting married or having children or theirs.
Debbie said she was finally able to explain to her children that she had the same condition that Kylie Minogue was successfully treated for and reassured everyone that she would be fine. She underwent a lumpectomy and her doctors were delighted that the cancer had not spread.
However, they warned her that she had a very aggressive form of the disease and planned to give her additional doses of chemotherapy. After undergoing daily radiation therapy while completing her chemo, Debbie then suffered another devastating blow when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and died months later.
Fortunately, Debbie made a successful recovery from her cancer treatment in 2009 and continued to take the drug tamoxifen for 10 years. Cancer Research UK researchers have helped prove the benefits of taking tamoxifen after surgery for women with the most common type of breast cancer.
About 8 in 10 women now survive for at least 10 years, thanks in part to this life-saving treatment. Debbie initially struggled to talk about her cancer journey after completing treatment, but then decided to take up raising awareness and fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
The mum-of-three, now 57, is Community Champion for Tesco Bidston Moss and has encouraged hundreds of customers and colleagues over the years to sign up for Race for Life and raise funds. She knows exactly how vital it is to raise money for lifesaving research – and that’s why she urges people to visit raceforlife.org and get involved.
Debbie has been such a passionate advocate for Race for Life that she was chosen as a VIP guest at the Wirral event on Sunday 22nd May. She will be pressing the starter horn at Birkenhead Park before joining the contestants and she will also be taking part in Sefton Park on Sunday July 10.
Debbie said: “I am passionate about the work of Cancer Research UK having lost so many loved ones to the disease. But I can see the progress being made in research and even if each person donates a pound to someone participating in Race for Life, then we are getting closer to surviving more people.
“I hope my story will help people connect with people before they embark on the Race for Life journey. It is a privilege to have the chance, through the audio recording of Race for Life events, to thank the incredible people who raise funds to support life-saving research.
Debbie’s powerful story is one of six cancer survivor audio recordings to be played at Race for Life events across the UK this year. Each year around 44,900 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will have cancer in their lifetime.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspirational series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds each year to help beat cancer by funding research crucial. Events will follow current government guidelines to protect against COVID-19 and hand sanitizer will be provided.
Jane Bullock, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK in the North West, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Debbie for her support and know her story will have an impact on participants when she is performed on stage at the start of Race for Life.
“Unfortunately, cancer affects us all in one way or another. Whether people are living with cancer, participating in honor or in memory of a loved one with cancer, or committed to protecting the future of their own children, everyone has a reason to participate in Race for Life. So we’re asking people across the region, “Who are you running for?”
“Our Race for Life events are open to everyone. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. Slow and steady always wins. For others, it’s a jog. Others may choose to push themselves harder, take on the 10k distance challenge, and even push for a new personal best.
“We look forward to welcoming people of all ages and abilities. Race for Life will be fun, moving, colorful, uplifting and an unforgettable event this year.
For more information and to participate in the Race for Life, click here.