A BRAVE mother who had a double mastectomy has been nominated for an award for her inspirational blogging about the experience.

Claire Whittaker, 39, from Bagnor, was tested for the defective gene BRCA2 in 2010 shortly after losing her father, Kerry Keysell, to pancreatic and prostate cancer at the same time as several female relatives died from breast cancer.

Claire made the brave decision to have both breasts removed, reducing her chance of getting breast cancer from 85% to just 2%, and she started a blog about her experience.

The site, called 'Claire and the Genie', has racked up 25,000 followers and Claire has now been nominated for the 'Community Champion of the Year' category at the Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards.

Claire, who works as a speech therapist at Mary Hare School for the Deaf at Snelsmore Common, said: "I have found it all very humbling and if I'm honest, a bit embarrassing! Saying that, it is lovely to think that my experience may now be able to help other people and I feel very flattered." Speaking about the operation, she said: "The first part is to have your ovaries out, which reduces your chance of getting cancer by 50%. Some women find that harder than having your breasts removed but I am very lucky in that I had already had children.

"The only thing I think I didn't expect was the shock of going into early menopause. My family were very supportive but going into the recovery process with that was difficult." Her decision was supported by husband Dickon and their children Jemma, six and Ben, four, and she had the procedure in May 2011. She said: "I would urge anyone over 30 to get tested, including my own children when they get to that age. Now I can say to my little girl, you don't need to be scared, just have an operation like mummy did and you are free." The winners will be announced on Thursday, October 17 at the Madejski Stadium Hotel in Reading. Visit www.sueryder.org/woaareading or call 01491 641070. Tickets are �60 and nominations close on Friday, August 23.

To see the blog, visit www.claireandthegenie.com