A St Neots woman who is receiving treatment for breast cancer is encouraging people to support her Dare to Bare charity campaign.

Sarah Stones, 46, who lives in St Neots Road, Eaton Ford, has raised more than £3,000 for the Hunts Community Cancer Network (HCCN), a project that uses specialist community cancer nurses to provide assistance to people through every stage of cancer.

Sarah, an HR consultant, set up The Dare to Bare campaign in December 2014 when her hair began to fall out during chemotherapy treatment.

"HCCN have been absolutely incredible and I honestly don't know what I would have done without them," said Sarah.

"My hair fell out after the second chemo and I was feeling so awful and spending a lot of time in bed so I turned to social media to keep in contact with friends. A friend took some photos of me without my wig and then I asked people to sponsor me to post them online."

Sarah, who has cerebral palsy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2014 after discovering a 5cm lump in her right breast. She admits that she was not someone who checked her breasts regularly and that she lived under the false apprehension that because she was fit and healthy she was unlikely to develop the disease.

"At the point I was diagnosed I had never felt healthier," explained Sarah. "I had undergone a hip replacement operation two years earlier and was going to the gym twice a week and feeling good about myself as my body was beginning to change shape. I started to feel a pain under my arms but I thought it was due to the exercise so I ignored it for a while. When I noticed things didn't look quite right and found the lump it was quite advanced.

"I honestly don't know how I didn't realise I had this huge lump, but I now know that breast cancer is a well woman's disease."

Tests revealed that Sarah had an aggressive grade three tumour and she would need a mastectomy, but the good news was that it hadn't spread to her lymph nodes, but she says her life "fell apart" when she heard the word 'cancer'.

"It was like being in a dream. You know you have cancer but you don't know anything else about what the future might hold. There are so many waves of emotion; sitting and waiting for results and treatment was very difficult, and telling your family and friends is hard. I honestly thought I was going to die."

Sarah has raised £3,011 for the HCCN Charity which provides funding for the HCCN project.

"HCCN is like the sunshine on a rainy day. Having cancer is like being on a roller coaster - you lose a breast, you lose your hair - there are some really tough days.

"One day I had a cold and I wasn't sure whether it was just a cold or something else related to the cancer or the chemo. I contacted the cancer network and a nurse came to the house, did a blood test and put my mind at rest."

HCCN, a government-funded pilot project, was launched two years ago at nine GP surgeries, including Eaton Socon Health Centre, to establish whether moving some elements of cancer care into the community would be beneficial to patients and cost effective to the NHS. Specialist cancer nurses make contact with patients from early diagnosis and are available via home visits or even work, and also hospital and GP surgeries.

The project has now been extended to all 25 GP surgeries in the Huntingdon area.

INFORMATION: To support Sarah's fundraising, visit www.localgiving.com/sarahstones.