11 years ago, aged 24, I had my breasts removed. Not because I had breast cancer, I was and remain to this day perfectly healthy, but because of the fear of breast cancer. My mother had died of this cruel disease when she was 35, the same age as I am now. She left behind a grieving family, not least two small children, my brother and I. Her mother, my Granny watched her die, having herself survived the breast cancer she developed when she was 32 but sadly she lost her own battle when the cancer returned in her ovaries when she was a young 50 something year old. I have BRCA 1. To be BRCA 1 is to have a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. I had an 80% chance of developing breast cancer and I still have a 40% chance of developing ovarian cancer in my life time. In fact, when I came around from surgery at the pioneering Royal Marsden Hospital, I was told that pre-cancerous cells had been found but the surgery had removed any danger and my risk of developing breast cancer was reduced to 5%, less than the national average of 12%. A decade ago very few people would have understood the implications of having a BRCA gene but there has been a very positive shift in both knowledge, awareness and understanding over the last few years, not least through the campaigning and commitment of charities who are continually challenging science and attitudes to breast cancer and work so hard to make sure that the sadness and the loss become a thing of the past. Breast cancer awareness months allow these charities a platform to really focus their efforts and raise our awareness as a society. Early detection is key. Knowledge is power but there is still so much to be done and I am proud of a nation that comes together, to recognise the dangers, to fundraise to put money into research and to celebrate the successes of lives saved and memories that are made. … Kerry’s story touched us all at People Tree and because of this we will donate 10% from the sale of pink garments to breast cancer charities this week.

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