Stephanie Glanville is a senior recruiter at Blue Yonder. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, Stephanie has used her diagnosis to spread awareness, raise money, and fight for a cure, all while undergoing brutal rounds of chemotherapy. Stephanie is incredibly inspiring, offering a dose of perspective to those around her, reminding all of us to never take your health for granted and to be as proactive as possible when it comes to your health.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in a village called Crowthorne in Berkshire. I am married to Neil and have four gorgeous boys: Blake 10, Albie 10, Noah 9 and Bear 2.

Fun fact about me? I used to play Basketball for South of England. Now I live my sporting dreams through my son Blake who is a keen basketball player!

What is your role at Blue Yonder?

I’m a senior recruiter and love the team I work in. We work hard, deliver our objectives but we have a laugh while doing so, which is just important. Happy employees work harder.

I’ve worked at Blue Yonder for two years now. I started as a recruiter and was promoted to senior recruiter last January.

I love my job and look forward to the next step up.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, you’ve been a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness. Can you share a little about your journey?

Cancer runs in my family. Both of my grandparents died of cancer, so I have always been an advocate for cancer awareness and over the last 14 years, I’ve raised over £50,000 for Macmillan – the main charity in the UK for cancer.

I was diagnosed with stage 3, grade 3 breast cancer back on September 23, 2020. So, it has been six months since I found out I had cancer.  I’m currently receiving chemotherapy treatment with my last one on April 1, 2021. I will then have an operation and then a year of immunotherapy every three weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of tears and losing my hair is still very hard, but after my full diagnosis two weeks after my mammogram, my chemo nurse nicely but bluntly said “you need to pull yourself together and be positive and fight this.”

From that day forward, I’ve been a woman on a mission, raising money for charity, raising awareness, and constantly reminding women to check their breasts. I’ve also applied to be a “Boobette” as part of the Coppafeel national charity in the UK. They educate young people about the signs of breast cancer and I made the cut after a very rigorous interview process! I joke that it was harder than my interview process at Blue Yonder, but they really want to make sure that the volunteers they choose are dedicated and willing to educate young people on the signs and symptoms, and speak to a variety of sports groups, schools and universities.

How have your family and friends responded to your diagnosis?

I’ve always been aware and checked myself. But when I told my friends, they admitted that they never checked! That felt scary to me – that many probably do not check. And as mammograms do not begin for women here until the age of 50, it’s very important to do self-checks. The numbers are rising for young adults getting breast cancer and that needs to stop.  

Did you come across any misconceptions about breast cancer once you started telling those around you about your diagnosis?

Yes. People assume you will get breast cancer later in life and that it doesn’t happen at the age of 35. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t pick and choose. I was lucky I caught it when I did otherwise my story could have been different. I want to make sure as many people check their breasts, it takes a minute and could save your life. Here in the UK you can sign up to a text service from Coppafeel to remind you on the 1st of each month.

What are some of your goals with generating awareness?

I want to make sure all my friends and family have joined the Coppafeel text service. I would love to hold an event around Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to educate people and drive awareness on the importance of early detection. I want to be able to say that I’ve also raised over £5000 this year for Macmillan and Coppafeel!

Resilience and strength are likely core to what you’ve gone through. How have you channeled these during your treatment?

I think I’m a strong person naturally, but you do have to remind yourself why you need to be strong.

I’ve gone through experiences in my life that have made me a stronger person, and this will be one of those experiences by far.

My kids have been my main motivation, they need their mum and it’s given me the strength to fight for them. My eldest has struggled a bit as he sees things very black and white and doesn’t see the in-between, so it is hard for him to understand this. My younger three are aware of it but they are young enough where it does not affect them as much.  

I’ve had a wonderful support network as well. Two of my rock stars are colleagues. They are now friends for life. A massive thank you to Helen who works in the talent acquisition team with me and Ashley Betts who works in facilities.  I honestly don’t know what I would have done without the positive attitude and pushing me to be the strong person I am.

Empathy as one of Blue Yonder’s core values must have played a pivotal role this year. How have you experienced empathy at work and personally?

I can’t thank Blue Yonder enough from messages from Josh Cook (VP, talent acquisition) and Nathalie Carruthers (chief associate success officer). And the support from Tom Strauss (talent acquisition – my boss) when I have treatment, messages from the HR team and just regular check-ins to make sure I’m ok physically and emotionally. Even people in the business that I don’t know and have reached out to me.

The finance team also did a fundraiser last year for me after they heard about #stephsarmy.

#stephsarmy is a group of local businesses that got together to raise money for Macmillan on my behalf for October last year, they turned all their business logos pink for Breast Cancer.

What are some of the things you’ve learned about yourself since being diagnosed?

I’m much stronger, positive, and driven than I ever thought I was. I want my boys to look at me and be proud. Hopefully they are.

I am still a worrier though and I feel like I’m putting the rest of my life on hold to fight cancer. This is obviously the goal but I’m very career-driven, and this has been hard as I had a vision of where I wanted to be and I’m not there at the moment.

How have you juggled work, your family and your own sense of balance this year? A pandemic and a major health diagnosis combined could not have been easy.

Having cancer in a pandemic has been hard, especially because I have had to do all my appointments alone. Normally you can have someone with you when having chemo. Blue Yonder has been so understanding so that has helped but I like to keep busy. That’s kept me going, because if you have time to think that’s when you can let your emotions get the best of you. 

I have written a blog in a Facebook group which has been a brilliant way for me to express how I feel. It’s honest but lighthearted because I like to try and make people laugh, though my husband would say he is funnier than me! I wanted to write honestly and be very transparent as there are a lot of people out there who paint a rosy picture and that is just not a true depiction. Some reading it have reached out to me and thanked me for being so honest.

What’s one piece of advice you have for anyone battling cancer or any major disease? As hard as it is you need to put those big girl/boy pants on and fight it. It’s important to show cancer what you’re made of and be positive. And second, make sure you have a strong network around you