Banbury mother to take on second fundraising challenge - two years after breast cancer diagnosis

A brave mother near Banbury has plans to complete her second sponsored walk at Blenheim Palace, two years after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
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Paula Van Santen from Middleton Cheney raised over £1,300 for breast cancer charity Make 2nds Count by completing the Blenheim Palace 7k last May.

One year later, Paula has again challenged herself to raise money for charity by completing a sponsored walk around the famous palace.

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This time, the 49-year-old mother has challenged herself to complete the 10-mile Pink Ribbon Walk for the Breast Cancer Now charity.

Paula Van Santen is raising money for Breast Cancer Now by taking part in the Pink Ribbon Walk next month.Paula Van Santen is raising money for Breast Cancer Now by taking part in the Pink Ribbon Walk next month.
Paula Van Santen is raising money for Breast Cancer Now by taking part in the Pink Ribbon Walk next month.

The Pink Ribbon Walk on May 11 will see hundreds of participants dressed in bright pink outfits take on a scenic walk, with all proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Now.

Speaking about the challenge, Paula said: “This year I am walking a further distance, and I have had an extra year of treatment. My joints are suffering from more aches and pains, so I will be taking some walking aids with me.

"My husband, sister, eldest son and nephew will all be there as well to offer support and encouragement.”

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Paula was first diagnosed with primary breast cancer two years ago. After receiving surgery and a mastectomy, it was later confirmed that the cancer had spread to her lungs and was incurable.

Thankfully, Paula’s condition is considered stable and the cancer has shown no signs of progression, meaning she can continue to work and live a relatively normal life.

Paula said: “The secondary breast cancer in the lungs hasn’t got any bigger, but it is still there.

"It can’t be cured, but it can be controlled with treatment for a certain amount of time and dare I say, I’m feeling fit and healthy and in a good place.

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"I have come to terms with my diagnosis and life has to carry on regardless, no matter the situation.”

Over the past year, Paula has been involved with Breast Cancer Now campaigns, raising awareness about secondary breast cancer and highlighting some of the symptoms.

A key issue for Paula is informing others that secondary breast cancer is when the breast cancer has moved to another part of the body and not a separate new cancer, which is a common misconception.

Paula has also been involved with a free-to-attend monthly group run by Breast Cancer Now for people living with secondary breast cancer in Oxford.

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She said: “It's really helped me. The women there not only hear my thoughts, but they understand them.

“I have been involved in a few things just trying to drive awareness of secondary breast cancer, including write-ups about what I’m going through, my diagnosis and sharing pictures.

"I will also be a part of Breast Cancer Now’s pop-up advert campaign, trying to get people to go on the charity’s website and gain information and break fears about asking questions.

Paula advises women to check their breasts on the first day of every month for lumps or changes. She said: “Women should make this a routine and don’t leave it until you get to my stage and start wishing you had been checking.”

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For information regarding checking for breast cancer visit:

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