Brave women share inspiring stories about battling breast cancer ahead of CoppaFeel! charity trek in the Romanian Alps

Sadly, we can’t take all of you (even though we’d love to!).

So with the help of our Fabulous Challenges Ambassador, author and blogger Giovanna Fletcher, we’ve painstakingly sifted through every entry to select 60 lucky readers, who will be lacing up their boots in July alongside celeb leaders, McFly’s Tom Fletcher and TV presenter Lisa Snowdon.

Here, some of them reveal why they’re tackling the challenge of a lifetime.

‘Checking my boobs saved my life'

Georgia Hope, 27, is a nurse and lives in Wiltshire with her boyfriend Leo, 30.

“Without CoppaFeel! I might not be here today. I saw Kris [Hallenga, the charity’s founder] on TV three years ago and her story inspired me to get to know my boobs. So when my left breast started to hurt last April, I went straight to my GP.

"The following month my worst fears were confirmed – I had breast cancer. I was devastated, but knew I had to fight it. Just 13 days later I underwent a lumpectomy, before six months of chemotherapy, which finished in October, and then I had a double mastectomy in November.

"The chemo was so hard – I felt like I was going to die. At my lowest moments I couldn’t eat, sleep, drink or walk.

It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. That was just six months ago and I’ve since had the all-clear. I want to do this trek to give people going through their treatment hope that it will get better.”

‘I want to turn my negative into a positive’

Ana Snowdon, 47, is taking on the trek with her cousin, team leader Lisa Snowdon. She’s a business owner and lives in Sheffield with her husband Phil, 48, and daughters, Sofia, 10, and Elyse, seven.

“Nothing can prepare you for hearing the words ‘breast cancer’ from your GP. When I was diagnosed in October, all I could think about was what it meant for my family. I couldn’t imagine not being there for my girls.

"My cancer journey isn’t over yet. I had a lumpectomy in November, but I’m still having chemotherapy and in June I’ll have a month of radiotherapy.

"Doing a 46-mile trek just weeks later will be tough, but when Lisa said she was hiking across Transylvania as a team leader to raise money for CoppaFeel!, I jumped at the chance to join her.

"It’s been something to look forward to during chemo and a way to show my daughters that cancer won’t change me. Lisa and I grew up together, so I know we’ll support each other every step of the way.”

‘I’m trekking to make my Mum proud’

Vicky Bennett, 24, is a support worker and lives in Crawley, West Sussex, with her fiancé Michael, 27.

“When my mum Sharon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, my heart broke. She’d always been my best friend and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

"As a result of Mum’s diagnosis, I was tested for the BRCA2 gene mutation and found out in January 2016 that I was a carrier, meaning I’m more at risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

"It was scary, but watching Mum battle her disease made me refuse to be a victim. Sadly, after two failed rounds of chemo, Mum passed away in March 2017, aged 56. I miss her every day.

"Being at a greater risk of developing cancer does play on my mind – I might consider surgery to remove my breasts and ovaries when I’m older, and I stay extra vigilant for any symptoms.

"This trek is totally out of my comfort zone, but it’s the perfect way to honour Mum. I know she’d be proud.”

‘I never thought I’d live to see 40’

“Breast cancer knocked me off my feet in October 2015. I was on holiday in Croatia with my husband when I felt a lump in my neck, so I phoned my GP from the airport on the way home to book an appointment.

"Within weeks I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer after doctors found a tiny cancerous tumour in my left breast that had spread to my neck.

"I was told it was so small that I was lucky to have spotted it, but I didn’t feel lucky. Telling my children was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I never want to relive that moment.

"After four months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, I was given the all-clear in March 2016. Two years later, I’m getting back to myself.

"People dread turning 40, but I can’t wait for my birthday in August. At one point I didn’t know if I’d even be here. Beating cancer gave me a new lease of life.”

‘We battled cancer together – now we’ll conquer Transylvania!’

Tazmin Clements, 19, is a student and is trekking with mum Josie MacEwan, a 48-year-old sales worker. They live in Wootton, Northampton, with Josie’s husband Chris, 43.

Tazmin says:

“When Mum told me she had breast cancer, I felt like the ground had gone from beneath my feet. We’d always been so close and I dreaded losing her.

"At the time I was 15 and starting my GCSEs at school, but after Mum began chemo I was often in charge of running the house as my stepdad Chris works offshore. While my friends were going to the cinema and parties, I’d be cooking dinner, giving Mum her medication and doing the weekly shop.

"Some days I’d have to miss school because Mum was so ill and I needed to look after her. It was a struggle, but we got through it together, and when Mum finished her treatment, I was proud of her for being so brave. We faced cancer as a team, and this trek will be our next adventure together.”

Josie says: "Being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer left me speechless. It was February 2014 and I’d only found the lump five days earlier.

"Seeing my daughter’s face when I got home from the hospital was devastating. Thankfully, I didn’t need to have a mastectomy, but I did have a lumpectomy later that month, followed by six rounds
of chemotherapy and one month of radiotherapy.

"I tried to keep life as normal as possible, but the chemo left me drained and I relied on Tazmin a lot.

"She was my rock throughout the treatment and kept me going at my lowest moments – her strength gave me strength, and I can never thank her enough.

"After everything we’ve been through together, a 46-mile hike will be a walk in the park! And I know that when things get tough, Tazmin will be by my side cheering me on.”

'I know this trek is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness'

Amber Stevenson, 23, is an actuarial analyst from Swindon.

“When my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, I thought ‘this is it’. It was the scariest and worst time of my family’s life, and especially hard for my Mum having five children to worry about should things not go well.

"She came out of it in probably the ‘best’ way possible, mostly down to her knowing her body and the signs and immediately spotting the change, which is why I want to be part of helping to make sure others have the knowledge she did.

"I’m nervous to be away from home and my legs lasting the whole 4 days of walking but I know this trek is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and raise money for such a worthy cause and if I can help others to catch it early and have the best of a bad situation, I want to.”

'Without the knowledge things could have been very different for me'

Joanne Price, 41, is a Digital Marketing Manager who lives in Peterborough.

“Having lost my mum Marilyn to breast cancer, having a 28-year-old cousin who’s had it and having gone through it myself in July 2016, I know better than most how important early detection and knowing your boobs is.

"Without the knowledge things could have been very different for me.

"I was also lucky enough to go on the 2017 Fabulous Challenge to Oman so I’m so excited to replicate the feeling of achievement upon reaching the summit. It was one of the most emotional, amazing moments of my life.”

'I just wanted to show them all how proud I was of them'

Scott Brant, 34, lives in West Yorkshire and is a Digital Marketing Agency Director.

“While my life hasn’t been directly impacted by breast cancer, over the last 3-4 years the most important women in my life have battled their fair share of health problems.

"We seemed to spend more time in hospital than out of it and I just wanted to show them all how proud I was of them.

"I’m going to miss my two-year-old daughter Evie but I’m looking forward to new friendships and the feel good factor of knowing the funds raised will help save lives.”

'I want to challenge myself'

Stevie Todd, 29, is a Head Hotel Receptionist from South Wales.

“My beautiful Auntie Jackie suffered with breast cancer before she passed away in her mid 30s and I'm doing this trek in her memory.

"I want to challenge myself, push myself to the limits and keep on going.

"I'm going to miss my husband hugely and I'm sure by the end of the week I'll miss my shower and bath too!”

'I want to play my part in preventing any more families losing loved ones'

Jess Ryan, 28, from London, works in the media and lives with her fiancé.

“I lost my Mum to cancer 10 years ago, and I want to play my part in preventing any more families losing loved ones.

"I'm also getting married and turning 30 next year, and wanted to set myself a challenge to complete beforehand to get that sense of accomplishment.

"I'm a bit of a wimp so I can see myself staying up all night freaking out at every noise but I'm sure we'll manage to have a lot of fun despite the pain along the way!”

'I love a challenge'

Kayleigh Teague, 25, is a campaigns support coordinator from Lincoln.

“I’ll miss my bed but I love a challenge, I love travelling and I love talking to new people; this ties in all three!”

'I think the whole trek is going to be a very humbling experience'

Anna McConnell, 31, lives in Cambridgeshire and is the co-owner of a Bridal Shop with fellow trekker Jo Taylor.

“Being in the Bridal industry means we talk about boobs a lot! And the CoppaFeel! Charity is one that we really feel strongly about.

"Not only do we want to raise a huge amount of money for the charity but we also want to spread the word about checking your boobs.

"I think the whole trek is going to be a very humbling experience and I hope to get a sense of achievement for completing something so wildly out of my comfort zone. And I’m lucky to be going with my friend Jo to hold my hand!”

'I’m doing it in honour of my mother-in-law'

Jo Taylor, 45, also lives in Cambridgeshire and is a co-owner of a Bridal Shop with trekker Anna McConnell.

“I have never done anything without a family member so this is a big first for me.

"I’m doing it in honour of my mother in law Doreen who lost her battle with breast cancer and for all our brides and brides’ families who have shared their cancer stories with us at the shop.”

'I’ve had two recent cancer scares'

Samantha Jackman, 34, is a designer and Arts and Heritage consultant who lives in Cornwall.

“I want to feel like I have pushed myself to achieve something that wouldn’t have seemed possible to me a few years ago.

"When I was 18 I had severe mobility issues and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I’ve had two recent cancer scares (breast and cervical).

"I’m looking forward to developing friendships and encouraging everyone I know to understand their own bodies and go to the doctor if something is wrong.”

'I want to honour my mum and do this in her memory'

Jessica Hurley, 28, is freelance hair and make-up artist who lives in Horsham.

“I lost my beautiful mum to breast cancer at the end of 2015. She was only 56 years old, and myself 26. I want to honour her and do this in her memory.

"She was so proud when I became a Boobette with CoppaFeel, and that I was helping in a small way to prevent others being in the same situation as her.

"This is a huge challenge for me but I want to make sure that I live my life to the full now and take on adventures that scare me.”

'I’m doing this in memory of a very close friend of mine'

Julia Fellows, 29, is an administrative assistant from Brede, East Sussex.

“I’m doing this in memory of a very close friend of mine, Emma Bowran, who lost her fight last August.

"She was more of a sister to me as well as an Auntie to my children and if I can help spread the knowledge and help even one person spot the signs and symptoms earlier I think she would be very proud.”

'I want people to remember me as someone who makes a difference'

Vicky O’Farrell, 46, is a Life Coach and lives with her husband in West Sussex.

“I’ve seen it in the magazine for the last 4 years and always thought I’d love to do it, but I’d never applied before, so I thought this was the year.

"I want people to remember me as someone who makes a difference and gives back. You get out of life what you put in.”

'I was taught to live life to the fullest'

Christina Voigt, 34, is an office manager living in London.

“Apart from raising awareness and money to support CoppaFeel, I am doing this to honour my sister who lost her 7-year fight against breast cancer in April 2017.

"Viv taught me two things: live life to the fullest and challenge yourself every day because nothing in life comes easy.

"Well, the trek ticks both boxes and if she were still with us, she’d be with me shouting up the hill for me to move my lazy bum.

"My sister was a fighter and she would be so proud of me.”

'I can hear my mum laughing at the thought of me in hiking boots already'

Nicola Hill, 31, does Theatre Hair, Wigs and Makeup and lives in Swindon.

“My mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 50 and sadly lost her short fight with the disease some 8 weeks later.

"I have also very recently lost my Grandad to Bladder Cancer, and my other Grandad is living with Kidney Cancer. I’m doing this for all of them.

"I can hear my mum laughing at the thought of me in hiking boots already.”

'I’m doing this for my wonderful friend'

Kirsty Ankiah, 27, is a guidance manager from Wolverhampton.

“I’m doing this for my wonderful friend Nicky. And most importantly to get the conversation started and to inspire as many men and women as possible to talk about BOOBS!”

'I know so many people that have been affected by breast cancer'

Greg Fox, 43, works as a therapist and lives with his family in Surrey.

“I know so many people that have been affected by breast cancer. Sadly losing some of those people. This one’s for them. And I just hope that my body holds up on the trek!”

'I can't wait to give something back'

Hannah Cosham, 32, is a NHS administrator. She lives in Worthing with her husband.

“Since being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30, I have volunteered for CoppaFeel! as a Boobette, educating the nation about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

"This charity has allowed me to turn my own experience into something really positive, and I can't wait to give something back.”

'I’m so excited for this opportunity to achieve something'

Amanda Noble, 41, is a pre-school manager from Hertfordshire.

“My mum was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and we have many friends who have been affected by cancer so I’m so excited for this opportunity to achieve something and be brave.”

'I want to conquer my fears'

Helen Constantinou-Mantilas, 33, is a mum-of-two and lives with her family in Purley.

“Cancer has affected my family directly and indirectly and I have always wanted to raise awareness, so what better way than to take on a challenge to push myself to new limits and raise money for Coppafeel.

"I want to conquer my fears and know that I’ve done it not just for me but for a great cause.”

'It’s really about the charity'

Natalie Moloney, 30, works as a Pageant Director in Essex

“My best friend is living with stage 3 Cancer that began as Breast Cancer and she’s the bravest woman I know.

"She has four children and runs her own dog rescue charity, but still finds time

to represent Coppafeel! as a Boobette and educate women up and down the country on the importance of recognising Breast changes.

"Whilst it’s a personal challenge for me and enables me to tick a box on my bucket list, it’s really about the charity.

"I really hope we’re able to collectively raise a life-changing amount of money for Coppafeel! as well as hugely raise the profile of the cause and bring the importance of Breast awareness to even more people.”

'I know this will change my life forever'

Mollie Banham, 23, is a Sales Associate from Blakeney.

“I’m looking forward to making new friends and getting a new look on life. I know this will change my life forever and I really look forward to meeting people and being in a country I’ve never been to before!”

'CoppaFeel is an amazing charity'

Wendy Bailey, 42, lives in Cambridgeshire as an Occupational Therapist.

“I’ve seen two close friends and my cousins recently battle breast cancer, so I’ve seen first hand how it has affected them.

"CoppaFeel is an amazing charity that raises awareness of breast cancer with young people and gives people the knowledge they need to feel confident checking their breasts.

"I’m going to miss my family, my puppy, and my bed!”

'Life is short and we need to live it to the fullest'

Gemma Collinson, 39, is an account director who lives in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

“On both sides of my family we have had cancer affect our lives. The stand out point I remember from my childhood was my mum going into hospital to have lumps removed.

"The days seemed to never end, and though the outcome was good, it did

remind me to detect any change.

"I have been told I am high risk for lumps so I am hoping that by myself raising awareness for young women to check themselves it will empower young mums to look after themselves. Life is short and we need to live it to the fullest!”

'It would be something incredible to look back on'

Charlotte Jones, 23, is a Teacher living in Plymouth.

“The past two years have been difficult having lost significant family members and friends. One family friend has stage four Breast Cancer and is fighting that at the moment.

"I feel the trek would be the perfect way to end a gap year on a high by challenging myself to do something different for an amazing cause. It would be something incredible to look back on.”

'CoppaFeel is such a fab charity'

Lisa Joffe, 36 works as a PA and Au Pair in London.

“Like many people, so many of my friends and family have been affected by loved ones with breast cancer.

"CoppaFeel is such a fab charity, so I really wanted to be able to help raise money for it.

"I’m going to miss my bed and my contour kit, but it’s time to embrace the uncooked doughball look!”

'I’m doing this to make my children proud'

Amanda Smith, 41, from Lincolnshire, is a Primary School Teacher.

“I’m doing this to make my children proud and hopefully inspire them to want to do something similar.

"To show them that hard work and determination are traits to be encouraged and that if you can be anything, to be kind.

"I can’t wait to trek with 60 strangers that will become friends, to hear everyone’s stories, and to see the beauty of Transylvania…simply, everything!”

'I want to be a part of spreading the knowledge of breast cancer awareness'

Alison Houston, 47 works as a Volunteer and lives with her husband Paul and three children Barnaby, Libby and Freya in Northamptonshire.

“I am doing this trek in memory of my sister-in-law Liz. I know that she would have loved to be doing it with me, and I’m going to miss her more than ever.

"I want to be a part of spreading the knowledge of breast cancer awareness, and by doing that, helping to save lives. I want to make a difference and save families from the heartache of losing loved ones.”

I want to make sure my daughters, their friends and future generations have the knowledge'

Victoria Heales, 45, is an Events Manager from Shropshire.

“I think in this day and age its hard to find someone that cancer hasn’t affected, I am no different.

"We lost my mother in law after a long battle with Breast Cancer. She kept her suspicions and her original diagnosis a secret – which was heartbreaking.

"I can’t help thinking if only she had known more about self diagnosis or even just being comfortable enough to talk about it things could have been different.

"I also have some very brave friends who have fought, conquered cancer and sadly friends who are also fighting a losing battle but who remain strong and inspirational.

"I want to make sure my daughters, their friends and future generations have the knowledge and support to give them a fighting chance should they need it!”

'I’m stepping out of my comfort zone'

Chloe Shillabeer, 27, is a Supply Chain Administrator. She lives with her husband Chris and her daughter Isla in Rochester, Kent.

“I’m taking part in the trek because I want my daughter to live her life as boldly and bravely as she can.

"Unless I set this example for her, I worry that she’ll follow in my timid footsteps fearing life’s adventures. So, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone for her! It’s amazing that I can raise money and awareness for CoppaFeel! at the same time.”

'No matter what age you are as early detection is just so important'

Melissa Yeardley, 25, is an Accounts Assistant from Doncaster.

“My sister in law, who is only 34 with two young children, has very recently been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

"She went to the doctors as things didn’t feel right when doing her monthly check and expected to walk out of the doctors with an then sadly she was diagnosed with cancer.

"For me, her getting breast cancer has truly hit home the importance of checking yourself no matter what age you are as early detection is just so important.

"The most walking I did prior to this was the dog walk so doing this trek is so unbelievably far out of my comfort zone and I know it will be such a difficult challenge but if I can help to raise lots of money for CoppaFeel! then it will have been so worthwhile!”

'I want to go on an adventure'

Kerry Nicholson, 36, is a Community Safety Coordinator at Bucks Fire and Rescue and lives with her daughter Phoebe and son Oliver in Buckinghamshire.

“Other than to raise money for the amazing Coppafeel, I want to go on an adventure and push myself.

I want to prove to myself that I can do anything I want to on my own!”

'I feel really strongly about raising awareness about breast cancer'

Charlotte Kenneth, 28, works in Retail Banking in Crawley.

“Since reading Kris’ story, the founder of Coppafeel!, I feel really strongly about raising as much awareness about breast cancer among young people and raising vital funds for CoppaFeel!

"I’m excited to challenge myself and meet new people.”

'I’m doing this for my Sister-in-Law'

Jemma Adair, 36, is a Nutritional Therapist student from London.

“I’m doing this for my Sister-in-Law Lynzy.

"I’m nervous about blisters and nearly 50 miles of walking but I’m hoping to meet some great people and spread the message to check your boobs and save lives.”

'I really wanted to do something to honour their memory'

Emily Jenkins, 29, is a Bridal Consultant from Cambridge.

“My grandad died from cancer last January and I really wanted to do something to honour his memory.

"He was a hugely important person in my life and I miss him terribly every day, he would have thought it was funny I put myself forward but would have been so supportive.

"I think grief is a hard thing to deal with and sometimes you need something to channel you energy into and thats exactly what this trek has done for me so I couldn’t be more thankful for being chosen.”

  • If you’d like to donate to the trek, visit

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