MARIE Tilley was super-fit, healthy and under 40. That’s why it took her a year to get a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Twelve months on, and the Narberth mum and fundraising sportswoman is now the other side of a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

“I’m in remission and I feel great,” she said. “But it could have been such a different story.

“That’s why I’m fighting, raising money and spreading the word.”

Marie has been joined by the group of women she inspires to reach new sporting goals in getting their kit off for a bra calendar which documents her journey.

The girls from running and fitness group Marie’s Marvels had been previously reluctant, to – as Marie put it - ‘get their knockers out’ for the All For Tits & Giggles charity calendar

“But I got my way when I had the breast cancer diagnosis, and I wanted to raise money for the Chemotherapy Unit at Withybush Hospital because it is an absolutely fantastic place and looked after me really well,” she explained.

“The girls have always been massively supportive of me from day one, but by doing the calendar I hope I’ve helped them to believe in themselves even more.

“Like all women, the Marvels are all shapes and sizes, but they are now feeling so empowered and have more confidence.

“The calendar shoot showed them what they are capable of doing, and that beauty lies within.”

Marie’s previous fundraising efforts have been focused on the Type 1 diabetes charity, JDRF, as her son Marley, now nine, has the condition.

But in the coming year, her charity organisation Marie’s Mission will be focusing on the chemo unit, where she is still completing her 18-session course of the targeted cancer drug Herceptin.

Last year saw Marie taking part in a round-Wales cycling marathon in aid of JDRF, but with the nagging suspicion that something was up with her health.

“I’d found a lump in my breast at the end of 2017, but I could not get a mammogram because I was young, fit and healthy,” she said.

“Through 2018, I wasn’t feeling right – I was always looking tired and I had a pain like a knife through my breast.

“It became itchy and I went back to the doctors, who put me on anti-inflammatories, which did not even touch the pain.

“Eventually I got a mammogram, and within 15 minutes of that I was told I had Stage 2 invasive breast cancer.

“That’s why I’m now passionate about raising awareness about breast cancer.

“Women need to know that it is no respecter of age or health, and they have got to talk about their breasts, check them and talk about breast cancer.”

That was the theme of Marie’s major event this year – the All For Tits & Giggles ladies night at the Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth last month - which came to an emotional conclusion with the Marvels putting on a bra fashion show.

With over £4,600 raised from that event alone, Marie, now 40, expects this year’s total for the chemo unit to top £10,000, with the help of sales of the All for Tits & Giggles calendar at £10.

The calendar features lingerie provided by Katie Howells of Pretty Lovely, Narberth and was photographed by Justine Hamilton-Griffiths.

It is on sale in Narberth at Spar, Pretty Lovely, Andrew Price and Hub Fitness and Tenby Bookshop.