I've been pondering all day, why exactly this makes me feel (and believe me I've tried to think of a more erudite word) icky. It's sneaky and manipulative; it's a way of getting page 3 onto the front cover by pretending to care about female health, but more than that, the linking of a life threatening disease with cheap titillation is horrible.
I'm a 27-year-old woman. You want to speak to me and you have. I saw your page and feel it is important to tell you what you've said to me about breast cancer.
We're talking about actual human beings existing in the twilight of grief and primal fear that comes with cancer. And if a lung, bowel, or pancreatic cancer patient feels, in that horrific state of mind, that it'd be easier to have a more socially acceptable cancer like breast cancer... We can't judge that. What are we doing, policing the private fears of terminally ill people now?
As a society, we've got our knickers in a twist about nudity. Specifically, female upper-body nudity. Where should it be allowed? On TV, but usually only after 9pm. We can't be naked in Tesco, but Adele Stephens on page three of the Sun is more than welcome. We can be topless in the bath, unless it's the big kind, in the Leisure Centre, with other people in it.
I decided to set up my own venture, 1000 Red Roses, importing flowers from Holland, wrapping them beautifully and sending them out to arrive on Valentine's Day to help romantics all over the country woo their loved ones.
Charities play a vital role in raising awareness of early diagnosis and hard-hitting campaigns can be effective in this aim. However, charities do have a choice about how to do this, considering the thoughts and feelings of many who could be affected. Yes it has got people talking but at the expense of distress to others and I am not convinced that is a fair or necessary price to pay.
While I was undergoing treatment a good friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within a matter of months, before I finished my treatment. I had not heard much about pancreatic cancer before, and it put my own situation in perspective: I could receive and complete treatment! I was given a life chance beyond cancer.
You might have heard of 'Mindfulness'. A lot is talked and written about its usefulness. But like with so many things, it can feel like a daunting task and yet another thing to invest a lot of energy in, before it can be of any use. Well, it is not necessarily so. Let me explain a bit more.
If you'd told me when I was a teenager that I'd have a breast amputated in my 30s, I would have gawped and wailed in horror. Back then, looks meant so much. They certainly weren't everything, but at the time I felt that my appearance would dictate my fortune - and not just in the mating game.
This adventure has touched so many thousands of people. As the end approaches and the boys get closer to us, I feel that I am also getting a little bit closer to them on some aspects of their experience, albeit wrapped in a soft duvet with a glass of cool orange juice at my side!
Over the next couple of days I will start preparing to fly to Antigua to meet the boys. I can hardly believe that we are now anticipating their finish - on the one hand it seems like they set off on this adventure yesterday, but on the other hand it has also felt like a (very traumatic) eternity!
My treatment finished in July and I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about this Christmas. I had bought all my presents by the end of October! The atmosphere in our household will be completely different to last year when we had a big dark cloud looming above us.
Just over a week ago my 21 year old son Luke and his best friend Jamie (the 2 Boys in a Boat), started the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge- a 3,000 mile rowing race across the Atlantic. If they complete the race they will break the world record for the youngest team to row the Atlantic.
Today my 21-year-old son, Luke Birch, sets off with his best friend, Jamie Sparks, on a huge challenge. They will attempt to break the world record for the youngest pair to row across the Atlantic.
Firstly, and most importantly, Elisabeth is American, and the blog is from the US. Therefore, I would hasten to ensure we all know the difference between what the US advocate when it comes to breast awareness, and what we advocate here in the UK.
I'd trained hard in preparation for our first ever Arctic Marathon. But back in February 2013, as I was settling into my bunk at our base station in Alesjaure, Sweden, I could not imagine what the team and I were about to face. As founder of Walk the Walk and the MoonWalks, I was used to walking long distances wearing just a bra.