As a vet, Anne Lawson is pretty practiced at feeling lumps and bumps.
So when she found a lump in her breast as she was getting ready for a night out, she knew to get it checked out straight away.
Two days before Christmas last year, Anne was diagnosed with Grade Two Ductal Carcinoma.
There was no history of breast cancer in her family.
She said: “It came out of the blue so it was shocking.
“It wasn’t the best news but I’ve got a seven-year-old, Nathan, so I just had to get on with it and keep the smile on my face.”
Anne (45). from Inverurie, had a lumpectomy and the surrounding lymph nodes removed, before undergoing four weeks of radiotherapy.
But the day we caught up with her she’d just received very good news indeed.
“I’ve just been to see my surgeon and he’s signed me off until next January,” she said. “My oncologist has also signed me off until then.
“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been happy to be rejected!
“I’m lucky that it’s been dealt with so quickly – a lot of people have it very, very much worse than me.”
Anne’s positive outlook is infectious and it’s undoubtedly why her colleagues at Ashgrove Veterinary Centre in Aberdeen signed up for the MoonWalk alongside her.
Her husband Colin, a health and safety advisor, is also training with the team – in case Anne needs a sub to help her complete the 26.2 mile marathon effort in Edinburgh for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.
The ten-strong team from Ashgrove Vets includes honorary team member Colin and the two male vets at the surgery, Scott and Kevin.
“They are all game for a laugh and have promised to wear their bras with pride, just like the girls,” joked Anne.
“The bras haven’t arrived yet but decorating them to match the jungle safari team is next on the list.
“I think I’ll leave that to the craftier people on the team though!”
It’s easy to forget when speaking to Anne just how much she has gone through in the past six months.
But she has underplayed her diagnosis every step of the way and remained positive throughout.
Anne waited until after her work Christmas party to tell her colleagues at Ashgrove about her diagnosis – as she wanted them to have a good time.
She also works for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and when her bosses there heard she had breast cancer, they sent her an enormous bunch of flowers.
But Anne kindly asked colleagues at Ashgrove not to send her flowers – and they came up with the idea of doing The MoonWalk Scotland instead.
Anne was only too happy to sign up with them.
She said: “They all wanted to do something to support me so when they suggested the MoonWalk, I thought it would be a fantastic challenge.
“I think the team are amazing for doing this. It’s a big commitment over a few months and they are all working so very hard.
“They’ve put so much effort into it, I just want to say thank you to them all.”
Personally, Anne has never attempted a marathon before but training for the MoonWalk helped get her through her treatment.
She explained: “I managed to stay active and it really helped me getting out in the fresh air.
“My black labrador Holly kept me company and I walked every day.
“So although I came to the training a bit later, I had done some preparation.”
Anne completed a 14 mile walk at the weekend so is well on track.
The team has also been busy raising funds. Their initial target of £300 was quickly surpassed, as was the £1000 target.
“If we could reach the £2000 mark now, we’d be delighted,” said Anne.
“We did a car boot sale a couple weeks ago which brought in £350 and we’ve got a pub quiz organised this week too.”
The quiz will take place in the Ashgrove Lounge, Belmont Road, Aberdeen, at 7.15pm on Thursday, May 11.
Entry is £10 for a team of four, snacks included.
Please call 01224 486444 so that the team can collate numbers for catering.
As for the big walk, Anne is looking forward to it.
She added: “I’m sure it will be emotional but we’ll all be cheering each other on.”
To support the team, visit https://moonwalkscotland2017.everydayhero.com/uk/ashgrove-vets.
Organisers’ volunteer appeal
Walk the Walk needs 1000 amazing volunteers to help at this year’s MoonWalk Scotland, which kicks off at Holyrood Park.
It will see thousands of walkers pounding the pavements through the streets of Edinburgh, wearing specially decorated bras, as they raise money and awareness to help fight breast cancer.
From marshalling and working in the baggage tent to handing out space blankets and medals – there is a job for everyone!
Whether you’ve got a few hours free or you are able to help throughout the night, every bit of help makes a huge difference to the success of the event.
MoonWalk Scotland takes place on Saturday, June 10.
To sign up as a walker or a volunteer, visit www.walkthewalk.org.