'I'm proof there's life after cancer'
A mother who was diagnosed with cancer aged 27 and beat the odds to have a ‘miracle’ baby has spoken of her journey in support of a national campaign.
Bianca Pearl, of Bury St Edmunds, was ‘distraught’ when she was told she had aggressive grade three breast cancer and endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Her treatment reduced the chance of her conceiving naturally and, having been told she was ‘cancer free’ in August 2015, she feared the disease had returned after a trip to Cape Verde the following June.
Arthur is a blessing - we think of him as our miracle baby - Bianca Pearl
The 31-year-old said: “When we got back in July I was really ill and went to the doctor.
“I was obviously worried that it was connected to the cancer. But instead I found out that I was about nine weeks pregnant.
“Because the likelihood of getting pregnant naturally was very low, it was the last thing on my mind. I was ecstatic.”
Her partner Owen proposed the following month on the anniversary of her diagnosis and their son Arthur was born on February 8 last year.
“Arthur is a blessing,” she said. “We think of him as our miracle baby.
“Owen and I married on May 18 this year in Halkidiki in Greece, surrounded by friends and family - with Arthur as our page boy."
Bianca is supporting Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fund-raiser between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 to speed up life-saving research, and is encouraging others to do the same.
She has posed with four wristbands to highlight the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer every hour in the East of England.
“Some days I can’t believe everything I’ve gone through,” she said. “My family kept me going throughout.
“I’m proof there’s life after cancer. You can beat it and carry on a normal life.
“That’s why I’m proud to be standing up to cancer and helping Cancer Research UK fund valuable research to help others.”
Bianca described her family as her ‘super network’.
“When I was diagnosed, I was distraught, but I said to Owen that he didn’t have to stay with me,” she added.
“It’s a big commitment, especially as we’d only been together a year - and he was only 25. But he said he’d stand by me.”
She also set up a blog - Bee Beating Breast Cancer to educate, help others and raise awareness.
“I was only 27 and at that age, you think you’re invincible. I wanted as many young women - and men, as they get breast cancer too - to make sure they checked themselves.”
Stand Up To Cancer has raised £38 million since it launched in 2012 for clinical trials and projects which accelerates the development of new cancer treatments and tests.
The campaign will culminate in a night of live TV on Channel 4 on October 26.
For more information, visit www.standuptocancer.org.uk