A Horncastle woman has become one of the faces of a global campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer - after her own inspiring battle.
Gaye Williams admits she “thought her world had ended” when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She has fought back to rebuild her life and is now one of the country’s leading Zumba teachers.
She has teamed up with celebrity Michelle Heaton to support Zumba’s Party in Pink campaign.
It has already raised more than $3m worldwide to promote research into the prevention of breast cancer.
Over 12,000 people have watched a video featuring Gaye and Michelle on YouTube.
Now, the 47-year-old - who lives in a Wolds village - has spoken exclusively to the News about her own battle against cancer.
She discovered a lump via self examination in November 1998 and was diagnosed with breast cancer the following March.
She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Gaye said: “I can still remember the day I found out I’d got cancer.
“It was not long after my mum had died.
“There were times when I thought my own world had ended.
“I wondered ‘how low do I need to go?’
“There were the whole range of emotions. There was the anger and the guilt and the feeling why me?
“Fortunately, I’ve always been positive. I am a fighter. I am a survivor and I decided I wasn’t going to let cancer beat me and destroy my life.”
Gaye admits her treatment was difficult.
She added: “During the treatment. I couldn’t eat properly and there were really difficult days.
“I’ve still got the scars to prove it.
“But I came through it. There is hope and that’s the message I want to get across.
“Now, I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been.
“It was one day at a time but I’m now fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been - and I’ve a lot to thank Zumba for.”
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Gaye, who served in the RAF for 23 years and travelled the world for both military and sporting endeavours, qualified to become a Zumba instructor in December 1010.
She said: “I love Zumba because it gives me permission to dance and lose my inhibitions.
“It’s incredible. People can connect with the music in Zumba classes.
“As soon as you walk through the door and hear that music, the stresses and strains of life never disappear.
“Anyone can do it. I’ve got an 84-year-old at one of my classes and she thinks it’s amazing.
““I love it. I love my life. I’m living my dream.”
*Gaye’s Zumba classes will be held at Tetford School, starting on Wednesday October 30 (7pm).
She will also be holding a Zumba Gold class (for older people) at Stanhope Hall, starting on November 7.
Details of Zumba’s Party in Pink campaign can be found on www.partyinpink.com.