An Ellon woman has spoken of her battle against cancer in a bid to raise awareness of the disease among young people.
Karen Gordon, 26, was devastated when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.
But the nursery nurse is successfully fighting the disease and is urging young people to be aware of the signs.
She is now starting fund-raising for the cancer ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in appreciation of the support she has received from hospital staff.
Karen said her life was shattered last September when it was confirmed a breast lump she discovered was cancerous.
She told the Times: “A lot of people were so shocked because of my age. It was also a shock because I am the first one in my family to get it.
“When we got the diagnosis my world was tipped upside down. But my treatment was started very quickly and they were able to tell me there and then the treatment they were going to be doing.”
Karen started a course of chemotherapy and is now awaiting an operation and radiotherapy.
She explained: “One of the hardest parts was losing my hair but I learned to deal with it and I have coped quite well with treatment.
“The nurses and doctors have been brilliant. Everything they have said they were going to do, they have done. My oncologist Danny Lynch has kept me going through all this. He has kept my spirits high.”
Karen said she wanted to make young people aware that cancer can strike, regardless of age.
She added: “If you think something is wrong, you need to go and get checked. If you’re not happy with what the doctor said, you need to go back and back and back until you see a specialist before it’s too late.
“You can make it worse for yourself by not doing anything.
“What I would say is don’t hide away from it. Do as much as you can and live your life to the full.”
Husband William, also 26, said Karen’s positive attitude had helped him to cope.
He said: “It was hard for a start but as she was coping with it so well, it was easier for me to deal with.
“Karen has been fine all the way through and she has wanted to carry on as normal and that’s exactly what we have done”
The couple, who married in September, 2010, have received strong support from their families, who have been closely involved since Karen’s diagnosis.
Karen said: “The support from family and friends has been overwhelming and I would like to say a big thank-you to them.”
In appreciation of the support from hospital staff, Karen is now organising a fund-raising shopping evening next week at the private nursery where she works.
It will be held at Banbury Cross Nursery, Blackdog, near Bridge of Don, on Friday, February 7, from 7-9pm and will only be open to nursery parents.
The event will feature various stalls and also raffles, which have been donated.
Karen said: “If we can raise as much money as we can for the ARI unit then we can buy equipment and that saves even more lives.”
The couple are also holding an open disco at the New Inn Hotel, Ellon, on Saturday, October 4. Tickets will go sale during the summer. Proceeds will also go to the ward.