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Christine, surviving breast cancer in her 50s led to a new life and inspired a new career

surviving cancer inspired new business imageArticle by Ceri Wheeldon

Christine was dreading turning 50. In fact she had to be practically dragged to her 50th birthday. For Christine turning 50 seemed to be the first step in ‘getting old’.  She didn’t want to become the person she thought the over 50s were perceived to be or change the way she dressed to fit into what she believed the over 50 mould.

Now, however, Christine, is happier than she has ever been. In fact she believes it is a privilege to get older, and age no longer seems relevant.

Four months after her 50th birthday, Christine received the devastating news that she had breast cancer.

Recently divorced (after a 30 year marriage) it was the last thing she had anticipated as she  started her new life, and new relationship. With the support of her new partner and her daughters, Christine coped with her chemo and surgery, facing ‘dark’ times. Her daughters were brilliant- staying positive throughout, while her partner stepped into practical mode, while planning small ‘treats’ such as a drive to the sea, to keep her spirits high. Her new partner (now her husband) was brilliant. The right person came into her life at the right time.

Post surgery , Christine had planned to return to her work as a primary teacher, only to find that her heart was no longer in it.  Time for a change!

A business idea from her own experience post reconstructive surgery

Following her own reconstructive surgery, Christine found it very difficult to find a bra that she found both comfortable and attractive. Not wanting to wear an underwired bra following her reconstructive surgery, Christine was disappointed in the lack of availability of a choice of non-wired bras. Her dismay at her first post-surgery bra fitting was summed up by ‘I’m 50 not 80’ when she  left with the only non-wired bra available to her. It was while she was bemoaning the absence of feminine non-wired bras that were suitable at the cancer centre that someone turned round and suggested that if she felt that strongly, then perhaps she should do something about it. So she did!

With no business experience, but armed with passion and a mission, Christine set about sourcing the product and delivering a service that fellow breast cancer sufferers needed.

Starting small, Christine offered bra fittings at her local cancer centre, and was soon contacted by local hospitals and groups. She now has a website Softly Softly Lingerie for online sales of non-wired and mastectomy bras, and offers home fitting visits in her local area. Her new business coincided with relocating to Cambridgeshire and getting married, proving that you can reinvent your life over the age of 50!

Celebrate what you have

Looking back at her dread of her own 50th birthday, Christine would now advise anyone feeling apprehensive about the day to just pull themselves over the imaginery precipice. Think of the things you’ve always wanted to do and just do them! It’s time to be the you you’ve always wanted to be. Celebrate what you have and not what you’ve lost.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

Christine, coming through adversity and reinventing her life, is an inspiration to us all. Definitely ‘Fab after fifty’!

To learn more about Christine and her journey , visit her website http://www.softlysoftly-lingerie.co.uk/index.php



Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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