WHEN Kim Younger was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of just 27 it seemed her world had collapsed.
But almost immediately her thoughts turned to her seven-year-old son Cameron and the young mother vowed that she would not give in to the disease.
Now, in the middle of her treatment, Kim’s bravery is shining through as she plans a fund-raising party to thank those who have supported her.
And with the event scheduled for Saturday, family and friends in Pegswood are rallying round to help with the final preparations to ensure it is a roaring success.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and this is my way of saying thank you for all the support and help I have had,” said Kim.
“I have been upbeat, but I have to be because I have a seven-year-old son and he needs me to be there for him.”
When the Pegswood resident first spotted a lump on her breast early this year she remained calm, thinking she was too young for it to be anything serious. However, tests were carried out as a precaution and when the results came in Kim’s worst fears were confirmed.
Initially, an 18mm tumour was found, but a lumpectomy revealed two more and further investigation found another two tumours.
“When I was told about the cancer it was like the air had been sucked out of the room,” said Kim.
“They took me into the bad news room and confirmed it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
“Then I came home and it was like my world had ended. I went into the bathroom and had a big cry, then I noticed there was washing on the floor so I picked it up and put it in the washer, then I noticed the dishes needed doing so I did that and that’s how I got back into normal life. I just picked myself up and got on with it.”
The biggest concern was how Cameron would react, but since being told about his mother’s illness he has been a tower of strength.
“Cameron knows all about it now and he has been absolutely brilliant,” said Kim.
“Before the treatment I was trying to tell him as little as possible because I didn’t want to worry him, but then I sat him down and told him his friends at school would find out and if there was anything he needed to know I would rather he asked me and I would tell him the truth.
“It was a lot for a seven-year-old to take in, but he is very clever and he has taken it all in his stride. When I said I was having chemo and warned him that my hair was falling out, he helped me choose a wig. He is amazing.”
It has been four-and-a-half months since Kim’s treatment began and she had her breast removed, and she is due more chemotherapy this month, with radiotherapy starting in October.
But while she has been forced to defer a course at Teesside University in psychology and counselling for a year, she is continuing to study two NVQs in customer service and basic counselling, as well as volunteering for charity Brainbox, which helps families of children with brain injury.
“I have got to keep busy, it’s what gets me through. I couldn’t sit in the house and do nothing,” she said.
“I do have my bad weekend after treatment when I can’t put one foot in front of the other and I get panic attacks, but I have a terrific support system.
“It is hard, but my Mam has been so supportive and there is lots of support from family and friends and my partner. They have been absolutely amazing. There is always somebody popping in to see me.”
Knowing she could rely on support from the Pegswood community, where she has lived all her life, Kim decided to organise a Pink Party in aid of the oncology day unit at Wansbeck Hospital and Breast Cancer Research.
The event will feature two mediums, a raffle, karaoke and children’s face-painting, while people will be encouraged to wear pink fancy dress.
At the end of the evening, Chinese lanterns will be released. “I just wanted to give something back,” said Kim.
“The nurses at the oncology unit really do care so much. They are doing a job, but they really care and they have a genuine interest in your wellbeing. It is lovely going there because they are so supportive.
“I’ve never done anything like this before so I don’t have any target of how much I would like to raise. I just want to help.
“There are so many people helping me to organise this. It is lovely to see how Pegswood as a village has come together to help me organise it.”
The Pink Party will be held at Pegswood Ex-Services Club on Saturday, from 7pm. Tickets cost £5 and are available on the door.