Amy Dowden has said that her goal for the year ahead is to perform on the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom floor again.
The professional dancer, 33, who first joined the cast of Strictly in 2017, announced last year that had been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Dowden was unable to compete in Strictly’s latest season while she received treatment, which included a mastectomy, chemotherapy and fertility treatment for the duration of 2023.
In a new interview on Wednesday’s instalment of Lorraine (3 January), Dowden, who finished her last round of chemotherapy in November, reflected on the past year and her hopes for 2024.
“At the beginning of the  I had so many lovely plans. I was on the Strictly arena tour and had my honeymoon planned with my husband. And within a day when I got the news…your life doesn’t change during the treatment or surgery, it changes you forever – it changed me as a person.”
The Welsh dancer said that her diagnosis affected everyone around her, including her husband and the students at Dance in Motion – the dance school she founded.
“I did find some amazing opportunities I had but when I looked back I thought I’ve had cancer, I’ve lost my hair, I’ve lost my boob, I’ve had sepsis, and I went into septic shock, I’ve had blood clots, broke my foot.”
Dowden said when she woke up on New Year’s Eve and watched people’s Instagram posts reflecting on the seemingly perfect years that they had, she felt robbed.
“You’re watching everyone else share these lovely photos and reels – I was a bit jealous,” she said.
Asked about her goals for the coming year, Dowden replied: “I just wanna get myself back on that dance floor.”
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“Winning Strictly would be amazing… you know… but I just want to be back with the gang, dancing, doing what I love, in front of the audience, with the people I love.”
And does she have her sights set on any prospective dance partners for the next season of Strictly? “There’s a few people,” Dowden replied. “Hugh Jackman. Ben Shephard…or a fellow Welshy like Luke Evans.”
In her own New Year’s Eve reflection posted to her Instagram Story, Dowden told her followers that looking back at 2024 made her “upset and angry”.
“I’m going to make myself look through my camera roll and remember all the good times, the amazing opportunities I had, family time but also taking time to realise I learnt the most this year,” she said.
“Experienced rock bottom, felt I lost my identity and dancing BUT became a stronger, braver person who I’m taking forward with me to 2024.
“For those struggling to reflect today, remember it’s OK. I feel much better after a little cry this morning and blessed to be celebrating with friends round tonight the GOODBYE to 2023!
“Sending love and hugs to those that need it! (And please) as it’s the last day of 2023 why not #checkyourchests.”