Breast can­cer suf­ferer’s amaz­ing fundrais­ing ef­fort

Carmarthen Journal - - News - CHRISTIE BAN­NON 01792 545522 christie.ban­non@me­di­

ANGHARAD Wil­liams, a dairy farmer from Llang­y­n­deyrn, Car­marthen­shire, was just 41 when she was told she had stage two breast can­cer in May last year - but de­spite the tough times that brought, she has fought back against the ill­ness with an amaz­ing fundrais­ing ef­fort.

Af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery a month later, it was dis­cov­ered her lymph nodes were also af­fected, mean­ing she would have to en­dure eight fort­nightly ses­sions of chemo­ther­apy.

She re­ceived the high­est dose of chemo­ther­apy you can have in the UK - be­fore com­plet­ing 20 daily ses­sions of ra­dio­ther­apy.

Mrs Wil­liams, now aged 42, said it had been a “tough year”.

“I was hit with the high­est dose [of chemo­ther­apy] in the UK be­cause the doc­tor said about my age and fit­ness but it was tougher as it went on,” she said.

“I was drained and tired and my whole body felt like a herd of an­i­mals was con­stantly run­ning over it.

“I can safely say that this was the worst time of my life, not only deal­ing with the phys­i­cal side of the treat­ment, but also the emo­tional side of deal­ing with the un­known.

“My son, who was seven at the time, was un­aware, which meant I had to try to pro­ceed with nor­mal daily ac­tiv­i­ties and re­main as pos­i­tive as pos­si­ble.

“It was re­ally hard at the start, but I had to tell him be­cause some school­child­ren found out and there was a risk they would tell him.

“I made it very light be­cause he knows can­cer isn’t good, so I told him about the op­er­a­tion I’d had and said, ‘I had can­cer but it’s in the bin’.”

Mrs Wil­liams de­cided to set her­self the chal­lenge of rais­ing as much money as pos­si­ble for char­ity, in­clud­ing the breast care unit at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospi­tal.

As part of the fundrais­ing, she de­cided to shave her hair off the day be­fore hav­ing a chemo­ther­apy ses­sion.

“I knew my hair would fall out any­way,” she said.

“I didn’t want him [my son] to see my hair on the pil­low, or in a brush or around the house, and I didn’t want to see that my­self either.

“In the De­cem­ber all my eye­lashes and eye­brows went, and that re­ally hit home, be­cause with my hair I could put a hat on.”

When Mrs Wil­liams’s sis­ter was mar­ried at the fam­ily’s farm, Pan­teg, two days be­fore her sec­ond chemo­ther­apy ses­sion, she had the idea of ar­rang­ing a char­ity auc­tion us­ing the mar­quee that had al­ready been set up.

Af­ter sell­ing 400 tick­ets, an in­cred­i­ble £43,000 was raised for char­ity in just three hours, with a week­end at Blue­stone, hos­pi­tal­ity boxes and even a trip to New York up for grabs.

A pink trac­tor run, which saw War­ren Gat­land spon­sor one of the driv­ers as well as ref­eree Nigel Owens get­ting be­hind the wheel him­self, added £15,000 to the pot.

As 2018 was ap­proach­ing, Mrs Wil­liams had reached a mas­sive £63,000 fundrais­ing to­tal.

“I had a Just­Giv­ing page too, which raised just un­der £2,000, and a Christ­mas fayre in Por­thy- rhyd con­trib­uted by giv­ing all prof­its to my fundraiser,” Mrs Wil­liams added.

“My son’s pri­mary school, Ys­gol y Fro in Kid­welly, or­gan­ised a 5k run and raised £1,165 for Can­cer Cymru.

“It’s all down to the sup­port. It’s been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing, and if it hadn’t been for them then I wouldn’t have reached this in­cred­i­ble amount.

“My fam­ily, friends, neigh­bours and the lo­cal com­mu­nity in Llang­y­n­deyrn, Myny­d­d­cer­rig, Por­thyrhyd and Lland­darog have been un­be­liev­able with their help and gen­eros­ity.

“My hus­band bought the New York trip at the auc­tion so we’re go­ing in De­cem­ber with our son and the peo­ple who do­nated it, so that’s some­thing to look for­ward to.

“This vil­lage all sort of pulled to­gether.”

The huge amount of fund­ing raised was split be­tween the breast care unit and the Wales Air Am­bu­lance, with the chemo­ther­apy unit in Llanelli and the Will Thomas memo­rial fund also re­ceiv­ing a share.

Angharad Wil­liams with her hus­band Alun and son Dewi and, right, at a chemo­ther­apy ses­sion.

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