Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden says a charity that she had done a trek with before she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer has potentially saved her life.
Following her diagnosis, the 33-year-old Welsh dancer had a mastectomy and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, Dowden explained how she had gone on a trek with breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! – where she was encouraged to check herself for lumps.
At the time, Dowden was with friend and author Giovanna Fletcher – wife of McFly’s Tom Fletcher, who she was partnered with when he appeared on Strictly in 2021.
Dowden said that the trip made her think “I’m here raising awareness and I don’t even check myself”.
She added: “So potentially, CoppaFeel! and the Fletchers and Strictly partnering me with the Fletchers has now saved my life.”
The TV star, who revealed that she had found a lump in her breast the day before she went on honeymoon, also spoke about her treatment after she was diagnosed – and the moment she was told she had sepsis.
She said: “I had chemo on a Thursday and Saturday evening my parents were ringing an ambulance for me.
“When I got into the ambulance, I think I went downhill and they rediverted the ambulance. Doctors were amazing. They were all there ready for when I arrived.
“Bloods came back and they said to me and my mum, ‘you’ve got an infection but it’s a good type.
“‘We’re going to get you on the antibiotics. It’s all positive. You’re going to be okay’. About three o’clock in the morning I looked to my mum and said ‘you can go now’… ‘mum go’.
“Ben (Dowden’s husband) rang the ward in the morning to see if he was bringing me home and the nurse said, ‘let me get the doctor for you’, and my mum and dad were sat next to Ben… and the doctor came on the phone and said ‘we’re treating her for sepsis and we think there’s a blood clot on the lung. She’s not in a great way’.
“So my parents and Ben were besides themselves and only last year we lost my auntie to sepsis and a blood cot on the lung, my poor parents, I can still see the pain in their eyes now.”
Dowden has not had a celebrity partner on this year’s series of the BBC One show, but made a surprise appearance on the show earlier in the month to read the voting terms and conditions.
Speaking on Loose Women about how supportive her Strictly “family” have been, she said: “(They’ve been) absolutely amazing.
“And that’s the heartbreaking thing, I get into dance mode and you know on a Saturday, I know that everyone is in hair and make-up and you know the songs that are about to play and I would do anything to be there right now but I’ve got to be patient.
“I keep saying to myself, ‘This too shall pass’ and unfortunately, people are getting diagnosed every day with breast cancer – I just hope that I can give them some encouragement, that they can see that I got through it and I got back on the dancefloor and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
CoppaFeel! is a breast cancer awareness charity based in London that encourages women under 30 to regularly check their breasts.
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