'Superstar' mum, 36, fighting breast cancer months after birth of third child
- Credit: Supplied by Cheryl Barclay
While many mums are struggling with homeschooling and keeping their kids busy during lockdown, a Hatfield mum faced the additional heartache of a cancer diagnosis.
Lynsey Mitchell, 36, and her family have been reeling from the devastating news since August.
The diagnosis hit her months after the birth of her third child, who was born in November 2019.
Her sister Cheryl Barclay explained: "To say it’s come as a shock is a massive understatement."
This has put a huge financial strain on the family and meant her partner David Mason has had to take time off from work to care for Lynsey.
"There is no help or finance for them," Cheryl added. "But she's amazing. She's doing it all and still being a mum.
"Having three children to look after and cancer is just horrible.
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"Lynsey just takes everything in her stride. She doesn't worry about it."
But Cheryl admits that her best friend and sister, who moved to Hatfield in 2019, broke down on first hearing the news.
"She cried and said: 'I don't want to die.'"
Lynsey's breast cancer was discovered after she found a painless lump and was subsequently referred to the breast clinic. She was then found to have cancer on her left side. This cancer was a type known as Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2, commonly known as HER2.
It is easier to treat because all the modern cancer medications for breast cancer are based on that, according to Cheryl.
And on her right side, she has what is known as TNBC, triple-negative breast cancer, and is in stage three. TNBC is sometimes described as a faster-growing type of breast cancer.
She has had seven rounds of chemotherapy, which involved three different types of cancer treatment for both types of cancer. She will now also have a double mastectomy and lymph node clearance, an operation to remove the glands under your armpit, on February 25 at Lister Hospital.
Cheryl adds: "If all goes well, then Lynsey will go on to have genetic testing done and if that comes back with a BRAC1/2 gene then there may be talks of removal of ovaries or womb as well to prevent a return of any cancers that could be hormone-related. This genetic testing could also have a knock-on effect on all women in the family.
"After surgery, we will know more about HER2 treatment and radiotherapy because they will see how the cancer has responded to the chemo once her breasts and lymph nodes are removed and tested thoroughly.
"She is a true superstar and we will do anything we can to help her and her little family."
The help the 31-year-old can provide is limited as she cannot be in Lynsey's bubble as she lives in Essex, which is too far to visit, and can just wave at her during lockdown, and due to the COVID restrictions cannot even be with her at the hospital.
"She's not allowed anyone when she goes for her treatment. Not even her partner.
"I want us to be together as a family. We video call every day but it's not the same.
"It's just rubbish. We used to see each other every day now it's just once a year.
"It's very strange for me not to be there for the kids as well."
Her sister and brother, Kirsty and Shane Mitchell, are also helping in any way they can and are still "shocked" they have to go through this.
Kirsty has launched a Go Fund Me page to help out Lynsey and the family, which has raised over £4,500.
"Everyone is just so lovely and caring," Cheryl told the WHT. "It's going to get better."
Cheryl has also come up with a line of 'F*ck Cancer' T-shirts to make younger women more aware of the disease and urge them to get checked.
Alongside this, her sewing skills have also come in handy to make Lynsey drain bags, which are worn over the shoulder to carry surgical drains following a mastectomy.
"I just wanted to do more, raise more awareness and get that age lowered for routine checks on women for breast cancer.
"I also wanted to raise money for Macmillan as they were amazing to us when my sister was diagnosed and Diane [from the cancer charity] will forever be the only light on the worst day of our lives as she got her diagnosis.
"Women please check your boobies."
To donate to Lynsey and her family please go here gofund.me/4e40fd24.
You can order T-shirts from
sewlottie.com, named after Cheryl's daughter Charlotte, for £14.99 including package and postage.