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Jenny Chilton Headshot

Dear Mum

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Dear Mum,

It was two days after you had returned home from surgery to remove the lump, and four days after I had found out that you had breast cancer. I was doing my best to help and at 23 years old you'd have thought I would be able to make you toast without causing havoc in the kitchen. But no, I made a complete mess and burnt it. Instead of swearing I uttered that little phrase you'd used so often in front of me and my three sisters... "Oh god, I've made a boob".

Previously this would have resulted in a little snigger but that day, while you were resting on the sofa with us all huddled round you - we were not sure of what to say. There was an awkward silence instead. I started to worry that I had managed to upset or offend you. There you were with that awful 'C' word and I was already mocking it. But then we all began to laugh. We laughed uncontrollably for a good few minutes and I suddenly realised, we would get through this.

That was three years ago now and a lot has happened since then. At that time I wanted to help you but I wasn't sure how. Clearly my cooking wasn't going to cut it! That's when I realised I could run. I mean really run.

I'd always liked to run, mainly to tame my thunder thighs, and had wanted to complete a marathon. Now I had my motive to take on this challenge, just like you were taking on the challenge of breast cancer. I knew that running wouldn't cure you, but that I could give you a reason to be proud of me and help raise much needed funds for Breast Cancer Care as well.

You see when you were first diagnosed I hadn't got a clue what to say to you and I had millions of questions going round and round my head. That's when I came across Breast Cancer Care's website. It was welcoming and it had lots of expert information as well as real life stories from other people affected by breast cancer - it was so comforting and easy to read.

Because breast cancer isn't just the disease of a 'friend of a friend' or a 'cousins friend' or even of a distant relative once removed. We're surrounded by people and their families who are affected by it. Real people, with real bodies and feelings and emotions that will change forever following their treatment. Through running the marathon and raising money I wanted to make sure all those people would have support from Breast Cancer Care, just like we did.

Last year when I ran the Virgin London Marathon for Breast Cancer Care for the first time it was AMAZING. I'll never forget your face at mile six, scanning the runners and waiting for me with the banner you had made. Your smile as I jumped in front of you waving as I ran past, that was what it was all about. You were brave, you were smiling and for that moment in time you were just mum again, not 'a breast cancer patient'. And now I'm going to run the marathon for a second time and raise even more money!

It's training time again and it's back to bowls of porridge, continuously washing my running kit (thanks mum!) and trying to avoid chocolate cake. No matter how many times I tell myself that chocolate cake isn't good carbs it's still really difficult!

But it's all for you mum because you inspire me. You inspire me to run hundreds of miles, get up at times of the morning no sane person should have to see and show me that I can still be beautiful even after a long run!

Every mile I run I dedicate to you. The way you've dealt with your experience of breast cancer has been inspiring, you are beautiful inside and out and I love you always.

Happy Mother's Day!

Love
Jenny x

Show your support for mums affected by breast cancer this Mother's Day. Whether you run the Virgin London Marathon like Jenny or buy one of Breast Cancer Care's gifts there are plenty of ways to get involved.

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