Flintshire mum was a tower of strength

Reporter:

Lois Hough

ANNE Counsell was named one of the UK’s best mums when she put her life on hold to help her pregnant daughter battle breast cancer.

Now the 68-year-old from Llanarmon-yn-Ial is speaking out to raise awareness of the disease.

Anne was a tower of strength for daughter Louise Rall, 37, who developed breast cancer when she was eight months pregnant in 2004.

Next month Louise will hike the Inca Trail in Peru with a host of celebrities to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

The trek will be filmed for a documentary to be shown on national TV later this year.

As Louise prepares herself the challenge, mum Anne, of Maes Ial, spoke about their struggle to cope and why Louise is still not out of the water.

“It’s like a little black cloud hanging over you and sometimes it rains on you,” said Anne, who was shortlisted for GMTV’s Britain’s Best Mum contest in 2005 after Louise wrote in to the show.

“You don’t cope but you can’t spend every day crying. You just put a wall up and get on with it.

“It’s the most terrifying thing because there is no history of breast cancer in our family.

“I think it is our lifestyle nowadays that can bring it on. Our meat and our milk is full of hormones and chemicals.

“It is mankind messing about with mother nature.”

Louise, who lives in Southampton with husband Dr Matt Rall and son Ben, now six, had an operation two weeks following the birth to remove a tumour but was devastated to learn the cancer had spread to her spine.

She takes chemotherapy tablets every day to keep the disease under control and has a scan every six months to ensure it hasn’t spread.

Her next scan is tomorrow.

Louise told the Leader: “I’m at the stage where life is hanging in the balance again.

“I’m grateful each time I am told that it’s under control and I can live my life again for six months.

“I’m gaining more confidence with my body but you never quite know what is going on below the surface.”

Louise will take part in the challenge in Peru with other cancer patients and familiar faces Denise van Outen, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby and Alexandra Burke.

“I’m really excited but super nervous at the same time,” said Louise.

“I have been training hard and I feel really well. I’m up for the ride.” The group is raising money for Breast Cancer Care which has been a vital crutch for Louise

She added: “They offer such a wide range of support. There are helplines you can call 24/7 whenever you need a chat and a website forum where you can talk to people going through the same thing.

“They give us advice on our diet and send us to a bra fitting. We get massages and beauty treatments too.

“I use the service a lot so I thought it was time I gave them something back.”

Also supporting Louise is father Russell, 69.

Louise added: “I’m doing this walk to raise awareness of breast cancer for younger women and especially those who are breastfeeding. If you find a lump get it checked out early.

“If I have a great adventure in Peru then that’s a bonus.”

The two-part documentary will be screened on ITV2 in October in line with Breast Cancer Awareness Week. If you would like to donate go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/lourall

See full story in the Leader

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