Yorkshire woman marks ten years since breast cancer diagnosis with fundraising marathon in Iceland

Emma Ackroyd was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, the age of just 35. To mark a decade since her diagnosis, she recently completed The MoonWalk Iceland, walking 26.2 miles overnight in the Lake Myvatn region, wearing a decorated bra. Emma and her team of eight – all from Doncaster – raised more than £10,500 for MoonWalk Iceland organisers, breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.

Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma Ackroyd (now 45) wasn’t in the habit of checking her breasts regularly. One day, having returned from holiday, she was checking herself in the mirror for a suntan, when she noticed that her left breast looked much lower than her right, and “just didn’t seem quite right”. She couldn’t feel a lump, but made an appointment with her GP to get herself checked out.

Emma was referred for tests and went with her mother-in-law Jo Horgan to get her results. The thought of potentially having breast cancer hadn’t even entered Emma’s mind, so it was a huge shock when doctors told her she did have breast cancer – at the age of just 35 and with no history of the disease in her family.

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Emma went through chemotherapy and ultimately also had both breasts removed. It was while she was going through chemo that Emma and Jo decided to sign up for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk’s iconic overnight fundraising marathon, The MoonWalk London, as a fitness goal once Emma’s treatment finished. They also agreed that if Emma survived another ten years, they would celebrate by taking on the charity’s MoonWalk Iceland challenge, walking 26.2 miles overnight around Lake Myvatn, wearing decorated bras. Last month, they did just that, as part of a team of eight friends from their local gym, named “Accelerate Boobilicious”. At this time of year, the sun never sets in Iceland – the Land of the Midnight Sun - meaning that the team completed their overnight walking challenge in daylight.

Team Accelerate Boobilicious, including Emma Ackroyd (6th from left) and Jo Horgan (third from left)Team Accelerate Boobilicious, including Emma Ackroyd (6th from left) and Jo Horgan (third from left)
Team Accelerate Boobilicious, including Emma Ackroyd (6th from left) and Jo Horgan (third from left)

Emma Ackroyd said: “Although I did The Moonwalk London straight out of chemotherapy which made me feel alive, completing The Moonwalk Iceland ten years on made me realise how far I’ve come and the journey I’ve travelled. I couldn’t have wished to complete it with a better bunch of girls and my mother-in-law Jo, who are friends for life. Crossing the finishing line was not only inspiring for me, but highlighted to others going through breast cancer treatment that there is hope”.

Jo Horgan added: When cancer hits your family like it did ours 10 years ago, your world comes crashing down. But Emma‘s strength and outlook on life gave us new hope. I was honoured to take part in The Moonwalk Iceland with Emma to celebrate her being cancer free for 10 years. Her bravery and strength inspire me every single day - you never know how strong you are, until strong is your only choice … and strong she certainly is”.

Team Accelerate Boobilicious have now raised more than £10,500. Breast cancer charity Walk the Walk grants funds raised through its MoonWalks to provide emotional and physical support for those living with cancer.

To sponsor Emma and her team, go to https://shorturl.at/urd1n

To register interest for The MoonWalk Iceland 2025, go to www.walkthewalk.org

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