She has spent the past eight years fighting to help youngsters faced with cancer.

But now Pam Thornes is bravely fronting up to her own deeply-personal challenge.

Today she goes into hospital for the start of treatment for breast cancer which will on Wednesday see her undergo a double mastectomy.

She may also have to have radiotherapy and possible chemotherapy as the shadow of breast cancer which has hung over her entire family strikes again.

Mrs Thornes, 53, of Slaithwaite, was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, September 13.

She took the highly-emotive decision to undergo the mastectomy, having seen her mum and sisters suffer from breast cancer.

And she is facing up to the struggle in a remarkably positive way – the same breezy manner which she has used to great effect working over the years for Kirkwood Hospice and, latterly the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust.

“How can I reassure young people through my work with the Trust if I’m not positive myself?

“People know about my three sisters and my late mother, all linked with breast cancer.

“I have been told my time has come and I must face my own battle, as sadly I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, September 13.

“What a day that turned out to be. But the doctors and everyone else are being really positive, and tell me it has been caught in the early stages.

“I have been given lots of positives from the medics: it has been caught early, it is small and if there is a best type of breast cancer to get this is it.

“But due to my family history I have opted for a double mastectomy, and with a little luck, I might just need some preventative treatment.

“Sadly we all know that cancer does not play a very fair game, so it is fingers crossed”.

Pam, who lives in Slaithwaite with husband Andrew, said: “I am even more determined in my commitment to the fight against cancer in young people.

“I have supported my two very brave sisters, Avril and Linda, in their fight against this dreadful disease.

“I will stand up to cancer and give it a head on fight and through this I am even more determined to make a massive difference to the lives of young cancer patients.

“I’m now standing alongside them because I want to make my horrendous year the best year ever for all those young people, who like me are in the battle and who are just as scared of the future and unknown, as I am feeling right now.

“I often wondered how they faced up to the unknown: now I’m going to find out.”

Breast cancer has become a bleak fact of life for her family.

The four sisters lost their mum Gladys Simpson to the disease 19 years ago and now three of them have contracted the disease.

Pam and the others have been undergoing trials and tests to monitor for signs of breast cancer

Pam Thornes, Avril Ford, Sandra Smith and Lynda Rugg
Pam Thornes, Avril Ford, Sandra Smith and Lynda Rugg
 

Pam’s sisters Lynda Rugg, 65, and Avril Ford, 59, have both battled with the disease and had breasts removed.

Pam has made the choice to have her’s removed voluntarily.

The other sister, Sandra Smith, has trialled a new cancer prevention drug.

Pam’s treatment will be in Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, and she is grateful for the speed in which she has been diagnosed and pushed through for surgery.

“I cannot thank the people at the Breast Cancer Clinic in Huddersfield enough for the help and support they have given.

“I have also been overwhelmed with the messages of support I have received on social media.

“My original message received over 100 individual comments as well as private messages of support from many I know as friends and through work as well as many from people I do not even know – all are so welcomed at this time.

“I am very upbeat, positive and ready for the challenge and if I can during my time make a difference to others facing a cancer diagnosis and especially young people – I will.”