By Daniel Bird
A 27-year-old enjoyed a surprise leaving party to say goodbye to her BOOBS before undergoing a double mastectomy.
Hayley Minn discovered she was a carrier of the deadly BRCA1 gene four years ago after her grandma Hannah Minn passed away from breast cancer aged 49 in 1970 and another family member was also diagnosed and her father Eliot, 56 (57 on feb 19th), was also found to carry the gene.
The writer, from Borehamwood, Herts, made the decision to undergo a double mastectomy before turning 28 despite being told to wait until she had children so she could breastfeed.
Determined to celebrate the ‘boob job that will save her life’, Hayley’s mum Helen Minn, 55, decided to throw a £350 bash for 20 friends and family on Sunday [Feb 10] to say goodbye to her daughter’s mammary glands.
Activities at the party, held at her family home on Sunday [Feb 10th], included pin the boobs on a poster, bra-pong and boob casting before Hayley goes under the knife today [WEDS].
Hayley said: “When I found out I had the gene, I immediately knew I wanted the mastectomy.
“I was told to wait until I was 30 and had started a family, but you don’t necessarily have to breastfeed – I’d rather my future children saw me grow old.
“I never thought of it as a brave move – it’s just a boob job that will save my life.
“For the boob hen do, my mum went to the trouble of sorting everything. – I asked her to arrange a tea for my friends as I wanted to see them all and have a good time with them, knowing I’d be in bed for at least six weeks after, and in pain for quite a while after.
“I was so surprised by how much effort my mum had gone to, and it made me quite emotional being surrounded by my closest friends and my mum.
“Knowing how much people care is really helping me get through it as well – knowing I have such a strong support system.
“The party was meant to be a celebration of life, and making sure an operation like this doesn’t have to be a sad occasion.
“We had afternoon tea with boob cakes and prosecco, huge inflatable boobs and played ‘bra pong’ and ‘pin the boobs’.
“There was also a book for people to write messages in, which I haven’t seen yet but I think I’ll be given it after the procedure.
“I even made a cast of my boobs – we used a plaster kit from the internet. It was all hands on deck following the instructions with my friends all getting involved in rubbing Vaseline and plaster on my boobs with me sat in the middle of the kitchen.
“I wasn’t able to move for a good 40 minutes, so my friends kept coming in to feed me cake and give me tea. At the moment, the bust is in the kitchen, but one of my friends has offered to paint it and I’ll be putting it in my bedroom pride of place.
“Being surrounded by my friends and having such a laugh made me feel very loved. I had such a good afternoon, and seeing all the pictures made me feel even happier.
“The total cost for the party was £350, Mum got a local caterer we use for quite a few events, and know quite well, and went to the pound store and Amazon for all the other bits and bobs, so didn’t need to spend too much!
“My family are really proud of me – my mum actually tried to do a speech at the party but was too emotional to speak.”
Shocked Hayley first discovered her mum’s party efforts when she returned from a 2-week trip to Sydney, Australia, from 22nd January to 6th Februay.
After undergoing the four-hour operation to remove both breasts today [WEDS] she will have a reconstruction to give her a replica of her own breasts.
She had initially planned to have the reconstruction in 2018 aged 26 but put it on hold after brother David Minn died aged 24 due to a fall while trekking in Argentina in the same year.
Hayley said: “I was initially supposed to go through the mastectomy at 26 in March 2017 but when my brother died, I couldn’t go through both of those things at the same.
“Despite making the decision two years ago, I feel as though it’s flown by. I realised how quickly time goes when my brother died.
“I’m not scared about the surgery, I’ve planned well ahead for it but I’m not prepared for the pain afterwards.
“I’m definitely getting a reconstruction – while I admire women who don’t get reconstruction, aesthetically I’m going to look similar but the only difference is I won’t be able to breastfeed.”
Celeb fanatic Hayley has revealed how she sought comfort through a WhatsApp group with other women who are carriers of the same gene.
And she is now a ‘Boob-ette’ for charity, Coppafeel! which involves carrying a lifesaving message to women, visit schools and colleges to represent Coppafeel! And to discuss their experiences with breast cancer as well as the importance of Coppafeel!
But despite making friends through her diagnosis, she said she feels like ‘an intruder’ as she hasn’t been through cancer herself.
Hayley added: “A lot of the girls have had cancer so they’re a huge inspiration to me. Most of them have now had a mastectomy.
“My dad feels guilty because he passed on the gene – he’d rather I didn’t have to go through this but he’s ok now.
“At the time, I didn’t feel as though I could speak to him about it.
“Now, I actually feel sorry for him because there’s a cast of my boobs in the middle of the kitchen.
“I’d tell women who also have the gene that it’s entirely up to them but I think it’s the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
“I’m personally 85 per cent more likely to suffer from breast cancer because I have the gene, so I’d rather get a mastectomy than go through chemotherapy.”