Meet Pauline

There is full life after cancer!

Award-winning founder and CEO Pauline Giles' journey is one of pure inspiration, learn more about Pauline's incredible journey in her own words.

I've got cancer - now what?

My name is Pauline Giles and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2010.
6 days after being diagnosed I went in for a Mastectomy. My surgeon was truly wonderful, he clearly knew what I was thinking, I’m single, I’m going to be mutilated, who will want me? 

He sat with me and held my hand and said 'Pauline, I am not going to let you leave my care feeling any less a woman than you did when you entered my care.' He was going to detach the muscle in the base of my back and haul it under my armpit and graft it to my chest.

Big stuff.... and to be fair the room did spin for a few minutes, but this was progress, my mother had had breast cancer only 8 years previous at which time a mastectomy still meant taking everything away, leaving a livid scar and handing the patient a bean bag to put down their bra. Thankfully due to tireless medical innovation I would still have breasts.

In September I started my chemo, which I flew through, my oncologist said 'Pauline you’re going to be poorly' and I sat bolt up right and said, 'oh no I’m not!'. And I wasn’t, before my hair fell out I bought a blonde wig and took it to my hairdresser, said '..put the purple in it and cut it like my hair is now!'
3 weeks later my hair fell out, I have to say that knocked me badly for a few hours, I allowed myself to cry and mourn my beautiful hair, but then I said get a grip Pauline and on went the wig.

1 in 8 Women will have cancer in their lifetime  That is a hideous ratio, every family will be touched by the disease either directly or indirectly – mother, daughter, sister, friend…

 I didn't have money to give, but I knew I wanted to make a difference - I felt if I could spread awareness from early enough it might help lessen the toll of numbers needing surgery and that way increase the chances of saving lives. 

 

FOUNDING BOSOM BUDDIES

From that point on my biggest wish was to get into comprehensive schools and speak to Year 11 girls (16+) at the last chance to reach the female population in great numbers before they enter the workforce or higher education.
I wanted to tell them about the signs and how to examine themselves properly and to give them a booklet highlighting what to look for.

I'd be able to say 'put it in your knicker drawer I hope you never need it, but if you do it’ll tell you all you need to know.'
The Bosombuddiesuk idea was born

 As soon as I was well again I started looking to the future, I set up BosomBuddiesUK that same year and so the flurry of activity began!

From BosomBuddiesUK festivals to sponsored jumps, branded race cars and much much more... the relentless, hard and ever-so rewarding work of raising funds to keep making it possible to enter schools and provide vital knowledge and skills kept me going 

 

 

 Spreading Awareness
..and as the schools programme expanded into more and more schools it was wonderful to witness the difference it was making. Receiving the positive personal feedback was such a bonus.

It was greatly motivating that after the visits now armed with knowledge, possibly these young girls won't see fear in breast cancer, and should it occur, would hopefully be less likely to need invasive surgery due to early detection and have a potentially increased chance of survival.

A difference that might not kick in for 20 years but should it happen, could mean prevention or support for someones daughter, sister, aunt or mummy. 

Awards


5 years into my BosomBuddies journey I was very proud and extremely humbled to receive two awards for my services to breast cancer and as a woman leader.

The appreciation I felt for winning the awards, was really about knowing that the inspiration I'd had only a few years previously had been worth pursuing and was now, tangibly, recognisably touching people's lives and making an impact! 

 

 

Love the skin you're in...

As a result of my cancer journey I've developed a whole new relationship with my body, I'm not just proud of what it has been through and overcome, my professional studio body paint make-over was just one way I shouted it from the rooftops(!)   
Pauline Giles body painted nude after mastectomy surgery


...but I now truly have a much deeper respect for the skin I'm in... 

As far as I'm concerned, I’ve had cancer once, I don’t want to use anything that might cause it again. I am passionate about staying healthy and living a long and happy life.

We all want that don’t we? Not just for ourselves, but for others too. And prevention is better than cure, which is why nurturing our bodies with the right ingredients is an important topic that I share wherever I can because what we put on it soaks right through into our bodies and bloodstream. Our skin is the biggest organ and an incredible sponge! 

Holistic principles nurture the relationship between our skin and health. I visited an ayurvedic clinic in India, witnessing their medicines and ointments which are plant based, and which has been their practice for hundreds of years to positive effect so why are pharmaceutical companies trying to artificially reinvent the wheel? 

It's one of the reasons why I am so proud of the natural skincare range that BosomBuddiesUK is developing. Our products are a step back in time, to healing plant based ingredients. Our honey hand cream and minty foot cream are already available using clean, wholesome ingredients, and we're launching new products throughout this year to keep us healthy and to fuel the body from the outside in.

Sharing the Love

Being alive and being able to share the love that I received and knowledge I gained during my care and since starting BosomBuddiesUK means so much to me and while I would never wish the dreaded diagnosis on anyone I can honestly say that not only is there a life after cancer but, for me personally, it's been an experience that has kept on giving. 

It's the reason why recently launching our new Chemo Companions
is such a personal highlight - it takes me back to one thing that truly gave me lots of support.

Before my life-saving surgery, I entered the ward with my wash bag, with an element of trepidation, this was a journey I had to take on my own. No one knew what I was truly thinking, the weight of worry that was on my shoulders...

There on my bed was a pretty heart shaped cushion. The nurse said the local WI make them for ladies having surgery, they fit under your arm perfectly and take the pressure off your wound after surgery.

It was such a comfort to know that someone was thinking of me, at the very time when I needed a little boost.

Sure enough after my mastectomy, that little heart shaped cushion was so useful, unless you have had to use one, you wouldn't quite understand.

Its become my trophy, my right of passage. It has pride of place on the shelf in my bedroom, I often look at it and smile.

 

Pauline Giles with post-surgery support heart shaped cushions

 

 

As such it is a real delight to now put together our very own BosomBuddiesUK Chemo Companionsto gift others with all the items that really got me through my treatment at the time... and to be able to include in each one a little supportive heart donated to us by the hospitals ...

It's a gentle reminder of my past, that it was a part of it, is now a part of my now ...and of our future.

Pauline Giles x

more about BosomBuddiesUK School Visits
more about BosomBuddiesUK Chemo Companions
more about Pauline's awards