A woman has described how losing over four stone helped to save her life - as she discovered she had a rare form of cancer.
Berni Taylor was diagnosed with a rare adrenal cancer in January, with doctors telling her that she had a one in a million chance of developing the disease.
The 30-year-old said one of the main reasons that the tumour was discovered on a scan was due to the four and half stone that she had lost in the previous year.
If she had not lost the weight, she believes it could have been hidden.
Berni was also diagnosed with Cushing's Syndrome - a condition where the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol.
Berni said: "In January I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, that doctors have told me there is a one in a million chance of getting. Apparently only I and another person in Northern Ireland have the disease.
"It was very lucky that the tumour, which was just above my kidneys, was found, because I had just lost a lot of weight the year before as I was trying to become a healthier person.
"If I hadn't lost the four and a half stone and all of the weight around my abdomen, then there was a good chance that the fat would have hidden the tumour in my scan and I may never have known about it.
"I lost weight through doing a Slimming World course and my goal was to become a healthier and happier person, I never imagined that it would end up potentially saving my life."
After her diagnosis, Berni says that she was cared for tremendously by the health service, who scheduled her for an operation to remove the tumour a month later.
She said: "I was amazed with how quickly and professionally I was dealt with by my doctors and nurses. They really helped me feel at ease throughout my treatment and made sure my husband and I felt safe.
"I will now have to undergo a course of chemotherapy for the next five years and steroids for the rest of my life.
"Thankfully I have been given the all clear, which has given me such a boost and I want to do something to help others who are going through treatment as a way of saying thank you to everyone at the hospital."
Berni is now fundraising for Macmillan and the Endocrinology support group at the Royal Victoria Hospital and is taking part in a series of "baby peaks" in the Mourne Mountains and elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
She said: "Due to my Cushing syndrome diagnosis I have brittle bones and after everything that I have gone through with my treatment, I don't know if I would be able to walk the large peaks in the Mournes. So I am going to try the smaller or baby peaks instead.
"I am also trying to walk 7,000 steps a day in between to stay as active as possible.
"I had set the goal of raising 500 for Macmillan and the support group, and it is amazing that I have managed to raise nearly three times that now.
"They do such good work for people who are going through treatment and I am trying to do my bit to make sure they continue doing it."
If you would like to donate to Berni's cause please follow this link.
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