Cancer survivor's message of thanks

AS mother-of-three Christina Quilter was putting the finishing touches to plans for her dream wedding her world was turned upside down.

James Mortlock

AS mother-of-three Christina Quilter was putting the finishing touches to plans for her dream wedding her world was turned upside down.

Weeks before the big day the happy bride-to-be was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and told she would need a mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy if she was to survive.

But thanks to her family, surgeons and the Macmillan Cancer Unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Christina is well on the road to recovery and she is throwing her weight behind this year's Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning in a bid to give something back.

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Christina, 27, says it was her experience at the unit and the encouragement and advice she received there, as well as the support of her husband, Dan, and mother, Christine Ashford, that got her through her nightmare ordeal.

She now wants as many people as possible to get behind the coffee morning - on September 26 - to raise funds for the cancer charity.

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She was also helped with a £400 Macmillan grant, which enabled her to buy specialist underwear after her operation and she wants to give as much of that back as possible by staging her own coffee morning on September 24 at her home in Baker's Lane, Bury, to give someone else the support she had.

The young mother, who is now taking the drug Herceptin as she continues to fight the disease, said news of the cancer was a body blow: “It was such a shock - just 10 weeks before the wedding. When I was told, for a minute I wished I hadn't gone. Suddenly I wasn't me anymore. I was happy, looking forward to getting married and it was as if someone had swept the carpet from under me. Everything changed.”

Two weeks after diagnosis, Christina had the operation and the first course of chemotherapy went ahead before her marriage in June last year - with a second treatment awaiting her after her honeymoon.

However, she says that it was thanks to Macmillan that her wedding was everything she expected rather than a day blighted by fear: “At first it did spoil things, it took the shine off preparations. But after the initial shock was over and the more things were explained and I had all this information and support from Macmillan things didn't seem so scary.

“And when the wedding came it was brilliant and I think it was as good as it would have been if I hadn't been diagnosed.”

Anyone who wants to support the coffee morning by holding an event should go to

Macmillan aims to be a source of practical, medical, emotional and financial help to cancer sufferers and their loved ones. Last year, the coffee morning event raised more than £100,000 in Suffolk alone - this year organisers are hoping to break that record.

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