Residents putting their best foot forward for MoonWalk

THOUSANDS will take to the streets of night-time London this Saturday for the MoonWalk, an event staged by Sheerwater-based charity Walk the Walk to raise money of vital breast cancer causes.

Many of the participants, men and women, wear decorated bras, and this year the theme is Your Hero, whether it be a childhood hero, a favourite superhero or a family member.

EMOTIONAL – Claire Beare, far right, with her friends at the MoonWalk London 2018

One of the local people taking part in MoonWalk London is Cinzia Morreale, who has had two operations and radiotherapy to treat the breast cancer that was diagnosed five years ago.

 “I’ve recently had a mammogram and the results were very good,” said Cinzia, 60, who worked at Waitrose in West Byfleet for 17 years.

“Five years ago, I went for my regular mammogram and three days later, I was sent a letter asking me to go back to the clinic.

“The mammogram had detected a malignant tumour in one of the milk ducts in my breast. It was only discovered because of the mammogram; I didn’t have a lump or any other visible symptoms.

“I had an operation to remove my tumour, but they didn’t get enough clearance around it, so I had to have surgery again a couple of months later.

POIGNANT – Cinzia Morreale in her bra T-shirt

“I had radiotherapy for six weeks and I also started taking the hormone therapy Tamoxifen. The radiotherapy wasn’t too bad and the nurses treating me were absolutely amazing, but the Tamoxifen really hit me and I suffered from very bad hot flushes.

“I was moved to another drug a couple of years ago, after I had unrelated hysterectomy.

“The fact that my breast cancer might come back does play on my mind. However, I try to live my life and enjoy it as much as possible.

“I try to keep as fit as possible and I now go to the gym.”

She said the managers and her colleagues at Waitrose were very supportive during her illness and treatment.

Cinzia has done the MoonWalk London previously, before she had breast cancer, with some friends from work.

“I saw things around London that in all my years of living in England, I had never seen,” she said.

“I really enjoyed it, so I decided I would sign up for another one.

The MoonWalk returns for its first “live” gathering since 2019, the event reflected in these pictures.

“It’ll be even more poignant this time, having had breast cancer myself. I’ve retired since my last MoonWalk, so I now have more free time to train. It’s a great time to do it.

“The scenery on the route of the walk is beautiful – London is such a great city to walk around. It’s an incredible feeling when you finish the MoonWalk.

“I’m 60 now and not the quickest walker. It’s about taking part for a great cause and that’s very fulfilling.

“I’m taking part in the MoonWalk London to support every woman or man going through what I have.”

Claire Beare, from Westfield, has two reasons for doing the MoonWalk this year; she worked for Walk the Walk at the headquarters in Sheerwater for several years and her mother directly benefited from the charity’s work.

Claire, 39, had a number of roles at the charity, including as assistant to Nina Barough, the founder and chief executive.

“When Mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer, Walk the Walk had just granted a scalp cooler to the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford,” she said.

“These are amazing machines which help patients undergoing certain types of chemotherapy to avoid losing their hair. Mum was the first patient to use that machine, which was phenomenal. It made a world of difference to her outlook on cancer.

“Mum also went through surgery and radiotherapy and was eventually given the all clear.

However, about a year later, Mum got very poorly again and was taken to hospital. Her breast cancer had spread to her liver and she died within two weeks.”

Claire left Walk the Walk several years ago when she had children, but has continued helping as a volunteer and did the 26.2-mile Full Moon at the 2018 MoonWalk London with a group of friends.

“This year, I’m taking on the Half Moon (the 15.1-mile distance makes for a more pleasant route) and I can’t wait,” she said.

“After the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that people don’t forget cancer.

“Throughout the time I’ve been involved with Walk the Walk, I’ve been blown away by how much treatments for breast cancer have moved on and become less invasive. All of this wouldn’t have happened without events like the MoonWalk.

“The other major thing that has changed over the years is how much more open we are about cancer.

“I’ve had very open discussions with my children, who are 11 and 6. I tell them that we can’t be frightened of it, but we’ve got to hope that new medicines will be developed, in the same way that the vaccine was created for COVID.

“The night of the MoonWalk is going to be very emotional. There’ll be a lot of pent-up emotion from the last couple of years without a live event.

“There will be some people who had been due to take part back in 2020 who are no longer with us.

“We’ll be walking the walk for them and for my wonderful mum too.”

FOR more information, visit www.walkthewalk.org.

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