The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation is an inspirational organisation helping to give people with terminal illnesses and life limiting conditions the wedding day of their dreams. The foundation was set up in 2012 by Naomi Thomas, and this is her story…
Where it all began
At thirty years old, Naomi Thomas is a happily married mum of one, and settled in the beautiful Somerset town of Wellington, with her new husband, Graham. However, one thing you wouldn’t know about Naomi if you saw her in the street is that she is living with Secondary Breast Cancer, a disease which has transformed her life and the lives of others, in so many ways.
In 2005 Naomi began working as a self employed wedding planner across the county of Devon. She loved her job and flourished in helping brides-to-be with all the arrangements for their big day, helping to ensure it would be a day to never forget. But after only four years pursuing her dream career, and only three months with her fiancé Graham, Naomi’s world was turned upside down as she was given the devastating news that she had breast cancer. She was only 26.
Naomi admits it was a diagnosis that she never thought she would hear.
“It was terrifying,” she says. “Your world just falls apart, especially thinking of loved ones.
“I’m a young woman with no history of breast cancer in my family. It just highlights how it really can happen to anybody. Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects men and women, people of all ages, races and backgrounds.”
The issue is still as important as ever before; around 9,000 women under the age of 50 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, with the other eighty percent affecting women over the age of 50, with the risks increasing with age.
Despite these figures, it seems the awareness of breast cancer amongst younger women is not as prominent as it could be. Many young women, just like Naomi, simply believe that are not at risk of developing breast cancer.
Detailing her involvement with Bosom Buddies UK, an organisation which educates and advises on all aspects of breast health in schools, Naomi describes how it is essential that younger women (and men) are vigilant and check their breasts at least once a month.
“Young people need to be taught from an early age the importance of knowing what is ‘normal’ for their breasts, knowing what to look and feel for, and actually checking for lumps and changes. If they do discover anything they must report any changes to their GPs without delay. If the younger generations are more aware of the issues relating to breast health and the development of breast cancer, hopefully more lives can be saved, before it is too late” says Naomi.
The cancer rollercoaster
After a gruelling series of treatments, including an operation, and chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy, Naomi had hoped she had beaten the disease and looked to the future with Graham. Both were delighted when in early 2010 Naomi discovered she was pregnant and expecting their first child. Naomi felt very lucky to be carrying a baby, especially knowing chemotherapy can often affect fertility in women.
Unfortunately, this excitement soon turned to devastation as only six days after her son, Devon, was born in September 2010, Naomi was rushed back into hospital with a serious MRSA infection. It was during this time that doctors delivered the massive blow that the cancer had spread and that her back had broken in three places due to her bones being eaten away by cancer. Naomi soon had to come to terms with the fact she now had incurable Secondary Breast Cancer.