Cancer survivor Kelly Stacey-Dunn explains how her illness made her realise she wanted to be a mum – and how that dream came true

BRAVE Kelly Stacey-Dunn set herself a touching personal goal when she beat breast cancer at just 29 - she vowed to become a mum. Three years after getting the all-clear, her dream came true. Baby Noah was born in February, a welcome arrival for Kelly and husband Michael, 38, who'd thought for years that they wouldn't have a family of their own.

Kelly, now 33, explains: “Having cancer changed everything for me. I never thought I wanted kids, and Michael was fine with that, but being diagnosed made me reassess everything. Coming through the other side makes you appreciate every single day and every single person in your life. After hearing that there was no sign of cancer in my body, I knew for certain that I wanted us to have a baby. Family is the single most important thing in my life now.”

Dog groomer Kelly didn't stop when she'd crossed her goal off her list. She went on to pinpoint 40 things to do before she turns 40 in a bid to raise £50,000 for the Cancer Research UK fundraising group in Stanley, County Durham, where she lives.

There are two parts to the list - fundraising goals and personal goals. Kelly wants to raise cash by running the London marathon and climbing Kilimanjaro, but she also wants to embrace time with her family and a trip to Australia is on the list along with her wish to make it to Lapland to visit Santa with her little boy. So far, she's raised a massive £14,000 for Cancer Research UK by taking part in events including the Great North Run, and cycling both the 200-mile Coasts and Castles route from Edinburgh to Newcastle and the 147-mile coast-to-coast ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland.

“It's massively important to me to give something back,” she says. “I figure £50,000 must have been spent on me through the NHS so I want to raise £50,000 for research. It's the only way we've got a hope of preventing other people going through what I've been through. I want to raise as much as I can for Cancer Research UK because one day there will be a cure. I’m also keen to raise awareness for younger women in particular about the importance of the early detection of cancer. Cancer affects one in two people at some time in their life and it doesn’t discriminate, so we all need to be aware.”

Kelly was only 29 when she first felt pain in her chest around Christmas 2012, but thought she'd just pulled a muscle at work. It was only when she found a lump in her breast a few months later that she sought the advice of her GP and in May 2013, she got the devastating news that she had cancer.

“You hear that word and you just think you're going to die,” she says. “It's awful.”

After surgery, Kelly was given the all-clear without the need for chemotherapy exactly a month before her 30th birthday. “I celebrated like a Nana for my birthday that August with an afternoon tea because I was still feeling quite poorly. But despite that, it's a birthday I'll remember for happy reasons - I'd got the news I'd been hoping for,” she says. “Every year I try to do something related to my fundraising in May - the time when I was diagnosed - and again in July, when I got the all-clear. It's my way of marking those milestone dates and trying to do something worthwhile.”

Kelly is now ultra-vigilant about self-checking and wants to urge other women to do the same. “My consultant was almost surprised when he told me I had breast cancer because at 29 it's not what you expect,” she says. “I was so lucky in that it was caught at the earliest possible stage. No matter what age you are, you have to be careful and check for any changes. It could save your life.”

Kelly is now looking forward to her next fundraiser - a bag packing day at her local Asda in the run-up to Christmas. Little Noah might be around to give a helping hand.

“It's all about Noah now,” she says. “He's a little giggler and Michael and I just love him to bits. As he gets older, I'll get a seat on my bike for him and when he's bigger I'd love him to do the Mini or Junior Great North Run as I do the adults one.

“I'm grateful for every single day I have, and even more so now that we've got our little family.”

  • To help Kelly reach her £50,000 fundraising target visit
  • For more information about Cancer Research UK, see

About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.

Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.

Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.

Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least ten years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least ten years.

Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.