Pregnant and looking forward to life, Natasha Clarke had a steady job, loving husband, a grinning daughter and was ready to welcome her second child into the world in a new home.
But her little family’s life was turned upside down when she was made redundant two weeks before she was diagnosed with cancer.
And that diagnosis came just three hours after getting the keys for her house.
Medics advised that at 34 weeks pregnant, 32-year-old Natasha should have little Evelyn, now almost five months old, earlier than she was due.
Born prematurely, Evelyn weighed 5lb9oz.
‘I was made redundant two weeks before I was diagnosed, I’d been an operations manager for six years for an investment company, she says.
I’m 32 weeks pregnant and I’m going to die. That’s what I thought
‘Then on the day I was diagnosed on February 2 I moved house from Farlington.
‘I got my house keys at 2pm and was diagnosed at 5pm. And then I had to have my baby early.
‘I moved house, lost my job, was diagnosed with cancer and had a baby in two weeks.
‘I had a lump in my left breast – where I was pregnant I thought it was a duct.
‘But in January I went to the doctors and got the lump checked out.
‘Within five days I was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer.
‘They hadn’t been able to establish what I had, so I had to have Evelyn early.’
There was a period of time between finding the lump and her diagnosis that Natasha thought she would die.
‘For two weeks I didn’t know how bad it was,’ she says.
‘I’m 32 weeks pregnant, and I’m going to die. That’s what I thought.’
Now after undergoing chemotherapy after a lumpectomy, still facing radiotherapy, and despite knowing she will spend 10 years taking hormone treatment, Natasha is more confident for the future.
The stage-two cancer was more than 2.5cm in size, like a ‘golf ball’ in her left breast.
When it was removed surgeons found her lymph nodes were clear, meaning it had not spread.
Currently she faces a 36 per cent chance of the cancer returning, but with all of the treatment complete this will be reduced to 20 per cent.
On Sunday she was surrounded by a team of 30 friends and family taking part in the 5K Race for Life, in Southsea, raising cash to fund Cancer Research UK.
Little five-month-old Evelyn was there in her pram, along with Natasha’s first daughter, Macie, aged two.
Natasha, of Eagle Avenue, Waterlooville, adds: ‘The support I’ve got is fantastic, everybody is brilliant.
‘The key to my surviving this and how I’m doing this, is to be positive.
‘I take each day as it comes and make a life out of it.
‘Positivity defeats cancer, negativity makes it grow in the long run.’
Natasha is supported by her fiance Perry Leaves, 32, and dozens of family and friends.
But bringing up a new-born and toddler while battling cancer has not been without its problems.
Simple things such as preparing for Macie’s birthday party have proved tiring
Natasha added: ‘It’s been hard, with my first one I breast fed for 13 months.
‘That bond I had with Macie I was scared of not having with Evelyn but it’s been fine.
‘With chemotherapy every week I don’t see my girls.
‘I haven’t had the normal life of a new mum.’
Part of her journey has been taking to YouTube to film vlogs on her battle with breast cancer.
Named the Cinderella cancer diary, she has filmed five clips so far.
She hopes to inspire other women going through the same journey and to reach a wider audience by recording the vlogs.
In her second post she said: ‘Friends, family awareness, beauty within and the smaller things in life, these are just a few to say the least that have kept me going this week.
‘Chemo is now on day nine, I’ve been feeling okay, the first few days tired, then in complete meltdown.’
She adds: ‘My tumour is gone it’s just eliminating everything else, and there are people worse off than me.
‘There’s more to life than cancer.
‘Cancer, yes, it is an illness, but it is only just a word and people are frightened of cancer as it feels bigger than them but all you need to do is put your fingers up to it and beat it, which is what I will be doing.’
Speaking on Sunday, her sister-in-law Kat Clarke, 27, said: ‘We wanted to do it to show Natalie that she’s got so much support.’