Michelle Heaton has shared her worries for her young daughter Faith, who is at risk of developing the same cancer gene as herself. Michelle, a carrier of the BRCA2 gene, has acknowledged that she'll have to talk to her little girl about the disease one day, but she hasn't quite figured out when. "I don't know how that conversation will go," Michelle told HELLO! Online. "She's only five and a half, but I'm aware that in the world we live in, with Google, she finds out things about me already at her age.
"There will be a point maybe sooner rather than later, but I don't know. How do you tell a child that they may be carrying a gene that could potentially kill them sooner or restrict their chances of having children themselves? How do you say that? I certainly don't want her to find out from the internet that that's what Mummy has." Michelle, 38, added: "I don't know is the answer, how does anybody know what the right answer is? I don't want to tell her too soon. But then I don't want to tell her when it's too late."
Michelle and her two children, Aaron and Faith
Michelle discovered she was a carrier of the gene in 2012, and subsequently had a double mastectomy and breast reconstructive surgery. In 2015, she also underwent a complete hysterectomy and oophorectomy, to reduce her risk of developing ovarian cancer. Her health battle hasn't stopped her from taking on "crazy" fitness challenges, the latest of which saw Michelle canoe 23 miles for Stand Up To Cancer's Great Canoe Challenge. The singer was paired with teacher Josephine Torrington, who is a carrier of the BRCA1 cancer gene.
The personal trainer canoed alongside teacher Josephine Torrington
"I'm a little bit crazy when it comes to a challenge. If somebody sets me something that sounds a little bit out of my comfort zone, I make it my aim to do it, whether it's running or cycling or canoeing, especially for charity," said Michelle. "I think that whenever I get approached to do something like this, I jump at the chance because I want to show people that no matter what you've gone through, you can get out the other side and life doesn't stop. I fought cancer by dealing with it the best way I thought appropriate. I want to show people that you can fight cancer in different ways and stay strong no matter what your body has gone through."
The personal trainer has remained active, and gets up early in the morning to exercise before her two children – Faith and three-year-old son Aaron – wake up. "It's the only way I can fit it in," she said. "My husband gets up at around 5:30am, he does an hour, and then I go and do my hour and then it's breakfast time and then we're out the door for school."
"I'm a little bit crazy when it comes to a challenge," said Michelle
Michelle Heaton is taking part in Stand Up To Cancer's Great Canoe Challenge. Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4. The challenge is taking place from Monday 25 September to Friday 29 September. For more information visit: standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe, to support the Paddlers and donate £5 or £10 text CANOE5 orCANOE10 to 70404*, or donate online at standuptocancer.org.uk/canoe.