Andrea's Story

Published: 12/11/2019

Andrea Sheardown is climbing Everest Base Camp for AMMF as cancer survivor and to help raise awareness of Cholangiocarcinoma.

This is Andrea's Story:

In October 2015, my world was ripped apart when I was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma a very rare form of bile duct cancer. It is known as one of the 'silent killer cancers', and has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers as it is difficult to diagnose accurately and early, so by the time of diagnosis it is often too advanced for surgery - which is currently the only potential cure. I had been experiencing some severe pain and discomfort in my ribcage, it was initially put down to strained muscles, however on further investigation and X-rays a mass was detected on my liver. I was initially given just 6 weeks to live as the cancer was in advanced stages, but somehow I managed to defy the odds and go on to have major surgery to my liver in November 2015, followed by a gruelling 6 months of chemotherapy. At times, I was left feeling very ill and weak and in and out of hospital, but giving up never entered my head and it was then my crazy fundraising ideas/plans began!

This cancer is increasing across all age groups, including younger people, and the cause of this ongoing increase is unknown. Much more research is desperately needed. The AMMF is the UK's only Cholangiocarcinoma Charity, dedicated to tackling this devastating cancer on all fronts: providing information and support, campaigning to raise awareness, and encourage and support valuable needed research. 

Over the past 3 years with the help of my family and friends now nicknamed 'AndreasAMMFArmy', I have organised lots of fun and challenging fundraising events. From charity ladies nights, climbing the 'Three Peaks' in the middle of winter, firewalking, a 'Mad Hatters Cycle Tea Party', to bag packing at local supermarkets, all leading up to some more challenging events. These have included climbing Kilimanjaro in February 2018, the world's largest free-standing mountain and more recently in February 2019, we cycled over 450km from Vietnam-Cambodia! Along with my army of friends, my children have also been directly involved in these challenges.

People and businesses have been so generous with their support, and all together so far, we have raised over £46,000!

February 2020 is my next big mission - Everest Base Camp! - I will be joined by my husband Chris, my 16-year-old son Sam, my sister Mandy and 12 other amazing friends, who have already completed previous challenges with me, and continue to give their time and money freely to support my fundraising missions. These amazing people are - Michelle Johnson, Erica Cordock, Andrew Suter, Anne Holdcroft, Marie Williams, Sharon Newton, Dylan Hughes, David Wiley, Oly Rhodes, Neil Pollock & Lisa Taylor. This will be a huge challenge to us all, as we will be taking on this challenge in one of the colder months to climb to Everest Base Camp, but our sheer strength, grit and determination will hopefully see all 15 of us make it! We will all be self-funding our places so 100% of funds raised will go directly to the charity. Many of my team have also lost loved ones to cancer and wish to help me raise awareness and much needed funds for The AMMF Cancer Charity.

I'm continuing to have scans every few months and have been told this devastating cancer could come back at any stage. Setting myself these challenges has helped me to stay positive and focused, and hopefully can give hope to others that are dealt a bad hand that life can carry on!

Keep checking our page, as we will be planning some great fundraising events along the way before our big climb in February!

Thankyou so much for reading this story - Andrea and my AMMF Army!

Andreas Justgiving page link is: