A mum-of-two who rang the cancer treatment bell six months ago has completed a five-day hike in the Alps – helping to raise more than £500,000 for charity.
Kirsty Ngu, 38, who lives in Graham Road, Wimbledon, received the shocking news that she had breast cancer two years ago, just months after she had given birth to her daughter.
Since then, she had been in the chemotherapy chair until she was given the all-clear in April this year. Two weeks ago she returned from an “epic” hike across the Mont Blanc mountain range, which spanned France, Switzerland and Italy, with about 100 other people, raising money for breast cancer charity Coppafeel.
“It was really special. The scenery was just insane,” said Ms Ngu. “It was very challenging at such a high altitude. You could feel it in your chest as you tried to breathe.
“There were some scary moments. If you put one foot out of place you could be in trouble and it was quite a steep incline. But it was beautiful.”
Mrs Ngu said she had a history of breast cancer in her family so had been for regular screening, and in the year before she was pregnant with her second child she was cleared. But once she finished breastfeeding she noticed a lump on her breast.
“It was the last thing on my mind,” she said. “My heart sank, I didn’t want it to be [breast cancer] but I knew what it was.
“You don’t know if you’re going to live or die. You’re looking at this baby and you’re not sure if you’re going to be around any more.”
Mrs Ngu went through six months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation, then a further 10 months of chemotherapy to reduce the risk of recurrence.
The mum said she would walk from Wimbledon to Richmond or Putney to increase her training for the hike.
“I didn’t know if my body could do it,” she said. “I was nervous. But I built up my strength by being a mum and pushing a pram everywhere.”
The Coppafeel charity aims to raise awareness of breast cancer and help with early detection, especially with people under the age of 30.
They have helped celebrities, including Strictly Come Dancing dancer Amy Dowden, detect breast cancer. The trek includes celebrity captains for each team, this year’s captains included Anna Whitehouse, Pete Wicks, Candice Brown and Kelsey Parker.
Mrs Ngu said most people on the trek had experiences with breast cancer and they shared stories along the way which were “cathartic and emotional”.
“The last day was really special,” said Mrs Ngu. “We were savouring the moment of being with special women, singing Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
“It was a huge rush of emotion. I went from two years before being diagnosed and sitting in chemo to thinking ‘wow I’ve just climbed this mountain, I’ve come this far and I’m out the other side’.”
To date, the trekkers have raised £552,000 for the charity, with Mrs Ngu’s contribution hitting £4,500.
Pictured top: From left, Kirsty Ngu on the hike across Mont Blanc and, right, with her two-year-old daughter Isla Ngu during cancer treatment (Picture: Kirsty Ngu)
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