Andrea Richardson, 49, from Hill View Drive in Coppull welcomes 2022 as one with everything to look forward to, after being diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer the previous year.
"The tumour was really close to my chest wall, so close in-fact that it didn’t even get picked up on the mammogram. If I hadn’t lost all that weight I would never have found the tumour as early as I did and my story could have been very different to the one I am sharing today.”
Explaining how she found a lump in her left breast after losing four stone in weight after joining Slimming World, she said: "I have always been overweight since having my first daughter Elizabeth in 1997. When I had my second daughter Isabelle who is now 18, my weight fluctuated up and down - life makes you fluctuate.
"In July 2019 I decided it was time for change. The bigger clothes were getting tighter and it was time to do something about it so I joined Slimming World at Coppull."
Being a novice dieter, Andrea, who works as a Social Investment Team Leader at Onward Homes, added: “I was over the moon to lose 5lb in my first week and went on to lose 4 stone 1lb in six months. The support from my consultant and the group really spurred me on."
In August 2020; Andrea heard about a friend having a breast cancer scare and decided to check herself and couldn’t believe it when she found a lump in her left breast.
“Everything happened so quickly, I was referred to Lancashire Breast Clinic and before I knew it I had been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer."
She then underwent two lumpectomies as the first one was unable to remove all of the lump, followed by intensive radiotherapy treatment which ended five months later when she finally got to ring the bell at the Rosemere Cancer Centre in Preston on Christmas Eve 2020 with her eldest daughter Elizabeth, 24, by her side.
"Elizabeth gave birth to my first grandchild Zara in September. I found out she was pregnant when I was having radiotherapy which was a bit of positive news and much needed at the time."
Poignantly, Andrea walked 100 miles in May 2020 for Breast Cancer Now charity.
"Having been through it myself, it was quite emotional. Thinking about all the other people going through it it was good to raise the profile.
"Women put it off getting checked. Don't. As it could have been a very different outcome had it not have been caught as early.
"Caught early breast cancer treatment has a much higher success rate, so Slimming World has well and truly saved my life!”
She has also taken over the running of Slimming World in Coppull as she wants to inspire members and make a difference.
"People kept saying to me "you should do it".
"It was quite scary with the relaunch last week, but my reason for doing it was to help other people. It has changed me in many ways. I have more confidence and give priority to myself now whereas I probably didn't before.
"I feel very lucky as it could have been a very different story."