Mandy Lottering and her friends. Mandy has removed both her breasts because of cancer. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Mandy Lottering, 43, is determined not to let cancer take over her life and slow her down.

In September she had a severe pain in her left breast, and it was after she sought medical advice that doctors discovered that a cyst was behind her discomfort.

The news would change her life forever. She had stage 3 cancer known as Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. “I was at work when my doctor told me the results of a mammogram. Days leading to that were difficult. I had prepared myself for the worst and constantly said I should stay positive regardless.”

Even though it’s not ideal to receive such news at work Lottering of Pietermaritzburg, who runs a hair salon, says the way she received the news is now helping her in her cancer journey.

“I didn’t have the luxury to fall apart, my clients expected me to carry on with the day as they didn’t know about my diagnosis. I quickly collected myself and continued with the activity of the day.That taught me to carry on living no matter how much life tries to stop you,” said Lottering.

Due to the advancement of her cancer and sheer size of the tumour, Lottering had to have mastectomy fast - an operation that would cost her R120 000.

Tomorrow the mother of two will have a double mastectomy at Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic - thanks to crowd-funding efforts that saw her raising more than R90 000 in two months. A Tata to Mandy’s Tata campaign was set up by BackaBuddy - a crowdfunding platform - after Lottering shared her story on social media.

To lower the possibility of cancer migrating to her right breast, Lottering decided to have both removed.

While many women fear the thought of removing their breasts as breasts define their femininity, Lottering says she felt like her life was more important than her breasts.

“I had a chat with myself before the mammogram and I decided that should they diagnose me with breast cancer, I will go ahead and remove my breasts.I value my life more than I value my aesthetics, I have so much to live for... my boobs are the least of my worries,” she said.

Preparing psychologically for the impending operating has been tough, but she is adamant that she doesn’t need breasts to feel like a woman.

BackaBuddy marketing officer Zane Groenewald says: “The number of donations already generated through this campaign speaks to Lottering’s open personality. It also showcases the beauty of a community coming together to support one of their own.”