A BBC journalist who filmed her emotional journey battling breast cancer is among the keynote speakers at a pioneering event in the Midlands. Wolverhampton-born Satnam Rana, who is the arts and culture correspondent at BBC Midlands Today, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
From her diagnosis and throughout her surgery to have a mastectomy and reconstruction, the 42-year-old made a video diary to encourage other women to check themselves for signs of breast cancer and help save lives.
The mum-of-one will further share her experiences as one of the inspirational speakers who has been lined-up to speak at the Being Well Festival at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
The event aims to promote happier, healthier lives by educating people about their health and general wellness on Thursday, October 24.
Satnam praised the support she has received and continues to receive from Breast Cancer Haven in Solihull.
She said: “It was early stage breast cancer but invasive surgery was needed because two tumours had to be dealt with fairly quickly.
“A few months later I reached out to Breast Cancer Haven as well as other organisations to seek counselling and therapy.
“They provide up to ten hours of free help. I had acupuncture and counselling last year to help me deal with the trauma of cancer, the operation and the side effects of my on-going medication.
“When I was diagnosed, I decided to make the videos because I was in a position where I could cascade information very quickly.
“I felt if I was going to go through this experience, I should use the experience as positively as I could by spreading awareness.
“I thought I could either go away quietly and get on with it or I could do something about it – and I decided to do something about it.
“I was mainly motivated by the fact that when I spoke to my peer group and asked my friends if they checked their breasts, I realised there was a gap in knowledge which is why I also started a social media campaign #checkthemout.”
Satnam has made films to continue to encourage women to check their breasts and contact their GP if they have any concerns.
“I was inundated with messages after posting the videos and it gained a great deal of publicity which was great,” she said.
“More than 100,000 people watched the first video and although it was a really emotional and difficult time, I hope I have encouraged other women to seek help.
“Physically, I am now in a much better place and mentally, I am in a better place but there are still days which are difficult dealing with the side effects which is why organisations such as Breast Cancer Haven are vital.”
The Being Well event will give visitors the opportunity to shop at a ‘wellbeing marketplace’, take part in activities and taster sessions, receive one-to-one advice on health and wellbeing and attend a special ticketed lunch.
The festival coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Haven will benefit from funds raised throughout the day.
Breast Cancer Haven operates from seven locations across the UK and provides emotional, physical and practical support for anyone affected by breast cancer including one-to-one therapy and counselling for family and friends.