As Rosanne Lightfoot looked to turning 60, she decided she didn’t want any presents – instead she asked her friends and family to make a donation to the breast unit where she received cancer treatment.
Rosanne, from Acklam, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2020, just as the second lockdown hit the UK. Her diagnosis came after a routine mammogram discovered a small lump, measuring just 11mm, in her breast.
At the height of the pandemic, Rosanne considered putting off her mammogram appointment but was encouraged by husband Craig, 59, to go.
She said: “It was such a difficult time when I received my diagnosis. The very day of the second lockdown, I found out I had breast cancer.
“I couldn’t feel a lump – I didn’t know I had one.
“I had my operation 12 days later. All in all, there was about 20 days between my routine mammogram and my operation. Although it was through Covid, nothing was delayed.
“And I’m here because of that. Without the breast team, there’s a chance that I wouldn’t be here. I consider myself very lucky.
“I want all women to know that you must go to your mammograms. Even if you don’t feel anything, even if you feel fine, go for it. Please don’t delay.”
Giving back to the breast unit
Approaching the two year anniversary of her diagnosis, Rosanne decided to use her 60th birthday on Monday 24 October as an opportunity to make a donation to the breast unit – the very unit where she had her mammogram, received her diagnosis and underwent her operation and chemotherapy treatment.
The couple threw a party at a local sports club the day before Rosanne’s 60th. With a ‘strictly no presents’ rule, Rosanne and Craig instead asked their friends and family to donate a small amount to the breast unit – ultimately raising a grand total of £800.
Included in the guests were Rosanne’s running group – Swift-tees. The group takes part in running events to raise money for different community organisations across Teesside.
Rosanne continued: “We raise money for loads of different organisations – it’s just what we like doing… so if I can’t use my birthday to do it for the people who have kept me alive. That’s my thank you because I’m still here today.
“I’m still on the mend but getting back to running. So hopefully in another two years I’ll be able to run a marathon for the breast unit!”
The donation raised by Rosanne and her friends and family will be used to enhance care on the breast unit, which cares for women and men across Teesside and parts of Durham and North Yorkshire, for the benefit of patients.
Vicky Hay, breast care nurse on the unit, said: “A huge thank you to Rosanne. It’s a lovely thought for her to raise money for us, especially on her 60th.
“To think of the unit instead of herself on her big day is incredible. It means a lot – it really does.”