Christine to Walk the Walk for charity

Christine hopes to raise �8000 for charity
Christine hopes to raise �8000 for charity

A Linlithgow woman is taking on this year’s MoonWalk after seeing first hand the positive impact the money raised has.

Christine McLaughlin is taking part in the event in June after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer.

She said: “I was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer in October 2018.

“I’d felt a very obvious lump in my breast and assumed it was a cyst. I’d been really healthy up until that point and had no history of breast cancer in my immediate family.

“Having said that, I had a very strong awareness of breast cancer and I also have a twin sister whose work is in developing oncology drugs.

“But it still wasn’t really in my mind that the lump would be cancer and I was convinced it was nothing to worry about.

“Thankfully, my cancer was caught early and there’s already been a 75 per cent reduction in the tumour from the chemotherapy, so the outcome so far is positive.”

Christine, who is the chief finance officer for NHS Scotland in the Scottish Government, saw a poster for the Walk the Walk in the Breast Cancer Unit at the Western General which prompted her to speak out about her involvement.

She continued: “I had previously taken part in The MoonWalk Scotland in 2017, mainly in support of some friends and family who had previously had breast cancer.

“I was sitting in the Breast Cancer Unit at the Western General for the first time and I saw a sign on the wall celebrating the grants which breast cancer charity Walk the Walk has made there.

“I’d already signed up for 2019 The MoonWalk Scotland at that point, but I hadn’t told everyone I was taking part, or indeed about my breast cancer.

“Having seen that Walk the Walk sign and the positive impact of the grant first hand, it gave me the courage to be more public about my own diagnosis and I decided to tweet about my fundraising effort.

“I was really glad I did. Lots of people started messaging me and a number of people got in touch with me who I hadn’t spoken to for a long time.

“I had told the people in my professional life who needed to know about my breast cancer – but a lot of people in my personal life didn’t know.

“In all the messages I received, everyone has been so amazingly supportive and it’s been quite overwhelming. I’ve kept all of the messages and read through them when I’m needing some encouragement!”

Christine is part of a team called “The Optimists” – a mixture of family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

She explained: “There are 10 of us in the team at the moment although a couple more people have promised to sign up.

“We chose the team name, because in so many of the messages I received after my diagnosis, people were saying how optimistic I am – I’m always looking for silver linings.

“One of the other members of the team – Vicki – has also had breast cancer and has been a great support to me. As a team, we’ve already raised almost £5,500 and our aim is to raise £8,000.

“We’ve already started to go out for training walks and am fortunate that there are lots of beautiful places to walk locally, setting off directly from my home.

“Through doing events like The MoonWalk and raising money, my goal is that everyone should be able to get all the help and support they need at whatever stage in their own cancer journey.”

The MoonWalk takes place on June 8 at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. Visit www.walkthewalk.org for details.