Amy Dowden expresses gratitude for second chance at life as she plans return to Strictly Come Dancing one year after breast cancer diagnosis

Amy Dowden expresses gratitude for second chance at life as she plans return to Strictly Come Dancing one year after breast cancer diagnosis

Amy Dowden has vowed to return to Strictly Come Dancing almost a year after she was diagnosed with grade III breast cancer – the second-highest grade.

The Strictly star, 34, competed as a professional dancer on the BBC reality show from 2017 till 2022.

She danced in the final of the most recent series of Strictly which was won by Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola.

Amy was diagnosed with cancer just the day after she came home from her honeymoon with Tom Parkes.  

She told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: ‘There I was living my life to the full on Strictly Come Dancing, just married. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.’

Amy Dowden expresses gratitude for second chance at life as she plans return to Strictly Come Dancing one year after breast cancer diagnosis

Amy Dowden, 34, told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that she will return to Strictly Come Dancing almost a year after she was diagnosed with grade III breast cancer – the second-highest grade

The Strictly star competed as a professional dancer on the BBC reality show from 2017 till 2022 (pictured in 2017)

The Strictly star competed as a professional dancer on the BBC reality show from 2017 till 2022 (pictured in 2017)

Amy was diagnosed with cancer just the day after she came home from her honeymoon with Tom Parkes. She said: 'There I was living my life to the full on Strictly Come Dancing, just married. Cancer doesn't discriminate'

Amy was diagnosed with cancer just the day after she came home from her honeymoon with Tom Parkes. She said: ‘There I was living my life to the full on Strictly Come Dancing, just married. Cancer doesn’t discriminate’

Amy also answered the long-awaited question of whether or not she will return to Strictly for the length of its twenty-first series in September. 

She shared: ‘I’m working really, really hard and getting my body back with rehab and physio. Got a brilliant team, so fingers crossed I’ll be back on your screens dancing later this year.’

Amy vowed: ‘If Strictly will have me back, I’ll be back,’ and confirmed: ‘The goal and the dream is to be back on the dancefloor, as well. ‘Cause I’ve missed it so, so much.’

On the programme, Amy opened up about life post-cancer and urged people to volunteer for cancer charities.

‘I was actually at the oncology unit yesterday having my monthly injection which I’ll need for five years. But I’m just so grateful to get another shot at life.’

She added: ‘I’ve got amazing friends and family, the oncology unit, the nurses, the breast nurses, and also the public support has been incredible.

Amy continued: ‘Unfortunately, one in two of us in our lifetime is diagnosed with cancer. But, charities like Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Young Lives vs Cancer, Breast Cancer UK. They wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for volunteers. 

‘Volunteers are the backbone, the heartbeat to all these charities. They help fund research, the reason why I’m still alive today. 

‘Not just those going through it but their families. As a volunteer you get so much pride as well. It helps your mental health, there are so many benefits to it.’ 

She shared: 'I was actually at the oncology unit yesterday having my monthly injection which I'll need for five years. But I'm just so grateful to get another shot at life'

She shared: ‘I was actually at the oncology unit yesterday having my monthly injection which I’ll need for five years. But I’m just so grateful to get another shot at life’

Amy was on the show to promote The Big Help Out, 'the biggest mass volunteering event in the UK', spearheaded by charities such as Macmillan and Young People vs Cancer

Amy was on the show to promote The Big Help Out, ‘the biggest mass volunteering event in the UK’, spearheaded by charities such as Macmillan and Young People vs Cancer

Amy was on the show to promote The Big Help Out, ‘the biggest mass volunteering event in the UK’, spearheaded by charities such as Macmillan and Young People vs Cancer.

She said: ‘Whether you’ve got a day, an afternoon, an hour: go onto the app or onto the website – TheBigHelpOut.org.uk – it’ll show you everything in your local community you can do. 

‘Whether it’s litter-picking, picking up the phone to support somebody, going around with a charity bucket, a walk, I’ll be going on the CoppaFeel trek during The Big Help Out weekend which is the 7th to 9th of June. 

Amy finished: ‘There are so many ways. You’ll meet new friends but the help that you’ll give and how you will feel afterwards. And I forever will be giving back – that’s for sure.’

The star’s former Strictly partner JJ Chalmers, whose body was destroyed by a bomb while he served in Afghanistan, spoke up about their relationship.

The former Royal Marine Commando and close friend of Prince Harry was paired with Amy when he appeared on the show in 2020.

As the series took place during Covid, Amy and JJ ‘lived in a little bubble’ alone for three months and developed a close bond.

Recalling the moment Amy told him about her diagnosis, JJ said: ‘I was devastated for her, scared for her, but I also knew that cancer had messed with the wrong person.’

He empathised: ‘She obviously had a very, very difficult year, 2023 was awful, battling cancer going through the surgery, getting to the point of almost dancing on Strictly, breaking her foot, it was just awful.

‘She has been very public about the physical part of that being hard but the psychological and personal battle that you have and again, I understand this, from losing my profession before, her losing a lot of her identity because she is a dancer to her absolute blood, so not being able to do that was hard for her.’

The star's former Strictly partner JJ Chalmers, whose body was destroyed by a bomb while he served in Afghanistan, has spoken up about their relationship

The star’s former Strictly partner JJ Chalmers, whose body was destroyed by a bomb while he served in Afghanistan, has spoken up about their relationship

Moved by his own experience, JJ is now supporting a campaign launched by insurer Zurich tackling how best to get employees back to work after long-term sickness

Moved by his own experience, JJ is now supporting a campaign launched by insurer Zurich tackling how best to get employees back to work after long-term sickness 

JJ, an Invictus Games medallist, suffered life-changing injuries while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. 

Every part of his body sustained some damage: his legs were torn open, his face crushed, neck broken and he almost lost both arms in the explosion which killed two of his colleagues. 

He is now supporting a campaign launched by insurer Zurich looking at long-term sickness and how best to get employees back to work. 

JJ wants the Government adopt a military-style ‘never leave anyone behind’ approach to tackle the problem of long-term sick leave. 

This would involve making it mandatory for companies/bosses to provide rehabilitation programmes for their workers.

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *