Skye woman to mark cancer anniversary with pier-to-pier swim

Freeze-frame: Anne Smith taking the plunge at Broadford pier.

A Skye woman who fell ill with breast cancer in 2020 will embark on a pier-to-pier fundraising swim to mark the two-year anniversary of her diagnosis.

Anne Smith from Broadford received the all clear from doctors last year having undergone an operation and then chemotherapy after she discovered a lump in her breast in April 2020.

Last year after encouragement from her sister-in-law Shona Nicolson, Anne decided to go for a dip at her local pier and has since become hooked on the activity.

This spring Anne is planning to use her new-found passion for wild swimming to raise funds for the charity Breast Cancer Now Scotland and highlight the importance of being vigilant when it comes to checking your body.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Free Press, please click on the banner above for more information.

Recounting the day she first discovered something was wrong, Anne told the Free Press: “It was two years ago on Easter Monday. I had finished work and was going to go for a walk with my mum, and then I felt a lump.

“It was a whirlwind from there; I was at the doctors the next day, Raigmore two weeks later, and got it confirmed that it was cancer. I had my operation within six weeks.”

Anne and fellow local swimmers brave the winter weather for a swim earlier this week.
Water-way to start the day: swimmers are a regular sight at Broadford pier in the mornings.

Describing the impact of the pandemic while she was ill, she said: “It was in the middle of Covid, which in some ways made it hard because I wasn’t able to see people. I have been used to working in restaurants and shops, so to go from always seeing people to being stuck in the house was the hardest part.

“However, because so much had been cancelled, it was fast-tracked, and that meant I didn’t have too much time to wait or to think about it too much.

“I had chemotherapy and received the all clear last year, and they don’t want to see me now for four years, so that’s really good.”

Anne added: “I have spent the last year laughing at all the people who go out swimming in the area, so my sister-in-law finally persuaded me to go out in October, and then I became completely hooked on it.

“My brother then said to me ‘why don’t you swim from the pier for breast cancer?’

“I thought that was a great idea – so I am going to swim from the big pier to the wee pier in Broadford and back again, and do it for charity. I am hoping to do it on 11th April, which will be two years to the day that I found the lump.”

“One of the main things swimming does is makes me feel normal, as the worst time for me was when l lost all my hair as it used to be quite long. Even though l knew l would probably lose it, it was still a shock when l did, but when I’m swimming l don’t think of it.”

To contribute to Anne’s JustGiving page, please click here.

Article by Adam Gordon, images by Willie Urquhart.