Barbara-Ann, her sister and aunt take on The MoonWalk Scotland after all being diagnosed with breast cancer

Being able to support each other through our treatment was so important

L-R Barbara-Ann, Audrey, Sarah-Jane


“My sister, aunt, my mum’s cousin and I were all diagnosed with breast cancer within just 8 months and supported each other through our treatment. This year, a huge group of family members have signed up to take on the Half Moon (13.1 miles) at The MoonWalk Scotland – we’ll be walking with pride to raise as much money and awareness as possible for such a worthy cause.

There was already a history of breast cancer in the family, when I discovered my own lump in 2015 - my gran and her two sisters had both unfortunately died from the disease. I was still only in my mid-thirties, but was concerned enough that I went to see my doctor. Despite my family history, I was simply told that I had a blocked milk duct and that everything was fine.

L-R Sarah-Jane and Barbara-Ann at Barbara-Ann's graduation, 4 weeks after Barbara-Ann's surgery

Over the following years, my lump got bigger, but it wasn’t until my aunt Audrey was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2018, that I went back to my GP. At the age of 38, I still wasn’t classed as a priority and had to wait another five weeks for an appointment at the breast clinic. They wouldn’t do a mammogram because I was so young, but I did have an ultrasound. Once again, the head of radiology told me that everything would be ok and that I had nothing to worry about. I was really shocked to hear her say this, as she didn’t know my family history and it felt as though she’d totally dismissed me.

After that conversation, it was a big shock to be told I’d actually be having a biopsy, basically to double check that everything was in fact ok. A short while later, I received a letter, asking me to go back to the breast unit for my results. I began to sense that something was wrong after all. I was finally diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2018 and started treatment later that month.

Barbara-Ann at her graduation, with husband Kenny and sons Kaleb and Cairn 

But there was more to come – three months after I was diagnosed, my sister Sarah-Jane was also told that she had breast cancer after finding a lump. Unlike me, Sarah-Jane was seen very quickly and was never told “there’s nothing to worry about”. My aunt, sister and I all supported each other through our treatment at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee – through the double mastectomies which we all had and also during chemotherapy. I went to support my auntie while she had chemo, she came to support me and then I went with my sister!

My sister and I both decided to use a Cold Cap during chemotherapy, as we wanted to try and keep as much of our hair as possible. I’d really struggled with the idea of losing my hair and looking like a cancer patient - I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me.  The Cold Cap worked well for both myself and my sister, which made such a difference – I kept quite a lot of my hair, although it did thin out quite a bit.

I tried to stay as positive as possible throughout everything – for my two boys, more than anything else. Just four weeks after 11 hours of surgery, I walked across the stage to receive my Post Graduate Diploma in Education, something which I was determined to do. After everything which had happened, it was a very poignant moment for my family.

Barbara-Ann walking across stage at her graduation, just four weeks after 11 hours of surgery

I still have that very positive mindset, now that I’m almost five years post-treatment. As a family, being able to support each other and chat through everything was so important – unbelievably, my mum’s cousin was also diagnosed with breast cancer not long before I was.

We’ve all had some form of genetic testing and have tested negative for the altered BRCA gene which means that carriers have a greater chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. However, my aunt Audrey did test positive for a genetic abnormality called CHEK2. Sarah-Jane and I tested negative, which we think is very strange. The scientists think that there may still be a link between my sister and I and CHEK2, but they haven’t discovered exactly what yet. We’ll see what happens going forward, as the science moves on.


I’ve done The MoonWalk Scotland twice previously and I can’t wait to do the Half Moon (13.1 miles) again in September. This year, Sarah-Jane, Audrey and I are so excited to be part of our big team. My mum and Audrey’s twin sister will be volunteering on the night of The MoonWalk too, so it’ll be an amazing family affair.  We can’t wait.

My gran and her sisters didn’t survive breast cancer, but The MoonWalk will be such an incredible celebration for those of us who are still here and have come through treatment successfully. As well as vital funds, we want to raise awareness about the importance of checking your breasts regularly, even if you’re still young. We all need to know what “normal” feels like, so that we can act quickly if we notice any changes. My final message is - don’t let yourself be dismissed by doctors. If you feel something is wrong, keep pushing to be seen. It could save your life”.

Barbara-Ann with her MoonWalk medals from 2006 and 2007

Thank you for sharing your story Barbara-Ann and we look forward to seeing you and your team at The MoonWalk Scotland 2023! 

Read more about Barbara-Ann, Sarah-Jane and Audrey’s story on the Mail Online website here

Join in the fun! Register your interest for The MoonWalk Scotland 2024 HERE!


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