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Breast cancer survivor defies the odds to run London Marathon

Amanda Pilbeam of Litcham, in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Amanda Pilbeam of Litcham, in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A breast cancer survivor who was told she would have to give up her love of physical activities is defying the odds and running this year's London Marathon in support of other women.

Amanda Pilbeam of Litcham, in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAmanda Pilbeam of Litcham, in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Amanda Pilbeam, 52, of Litcham, near Dereham, was diagnosed with the disease in August 2016 and had to have a left mastectomy and her lymph nodes removed.

Then, following six months of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy, she underwent a second operation to have her right breast removed.

It was during her recovery that the mother-of-two made the decision not to have reconstructive surgery.

Mrs Pilbeam, who moved to Norfolk last year with her husband David, 66, to fulfil their lifelong dream of building their own home, said: “I made the choice not to have reconstruction as I had been through enough.

“I have been supported through my journey by my husband, two sons, my parents and the wonderful charity called Flat Friends - a group of ladies that have either chosen to remain flat following beast cancer surgery or couldn’t have reconstruction.”

Before her diagnoses, the driving school owner described herself as active.

“I ran and walked my dogs and went to the gym doing body combat, boxercise, pilates and other classes,” she said.

“I was told by my surgeon and my breast nurse that following my surgery I would not be able to do these activities any longer.

The Flat Friends group logo. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Flat Friends group logo. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“My reaction was that if I couldn’t carry on my life the way as I did before then there was no point in going through all the treatment. So I set about slowly building myself back up to fitness and am now running and walking my dogs, doing my garden and generally really enjoying life - to the full.”

Now she is gearing up for the ultimate challenge as she gets ready to face this year’s London Marathon on April 28.

“I have decided to run to raise money for the Flat Friends group that was, and still is, so supportive and has such a huge knowledge base - a group of wonderful ladies that are such an inspiration.”

So far Mrs Pilbeam has raised £175 of her £1,000 target. If you would like to donate click here .

Amanda Pilbeam of Litcham, keeping active by walking her dog Flo, as she is in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAmanda Pilbeam of Litcham, keeping active by walking her dog Flo, as she is in training for the London Marathon to raise funds for the Flat Friends group, after breast cancer and a double mastectomy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

So what is Flat Friends about?

The charity Flat Friends was set up to promote living without reconstruction after having a mastectomy, due to either a breast cancer diagnosis or preventative surgery.

The charity believes that living without reconstruction is a positive outcome and supports women who face such decisions now or in the future, due to either a breast cancer diagnosis or preventative surgery.

There is a closed Facebook group that provides a safe and private place for women to come together and talk about practical and emotional matters related to living flat, including clothing, cancer treatment and relationships in everyday life.

To find out more visit the public page on Facebook , from which you can reach the closed group, or email support@flatfriends.org.uk or visit the website .

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