Barbara Allebone holds fundraising dances at the Barbara Hooton School of Dancing (which she owns), based in Wellingborough Northants. In this blog, she tells us the story behind why she started fundraising for Breast Cancer Now.
My twin sister Lynda died almost eleven years ago – she was 54. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer about ten years before that and I can still remember feeling totally powerless. As twins we had shared everything throughout our childhood and our teenage years – and when she was 21 she went to America to get married. She had three sons and I had three daughters.
I felt her labour pains, knew when it was her on the phone before it rang, and experienced pain across the Atlantic when she had her mastectomy. She was positive and dynamic and fought tooth and nail to beat the disease.
I was with her in her home in Westport Connecticut in the weeks before she died and felt at a loss as she grew weaker and weaker. I returned home to England as my father-in-law had died and was aware of Lynda’s passing four days later. It was a physical punch in the chest just minutes before the telephone rang.
Supporting life-saving research
Lynda loved life, partying and England, so the next show we did with my dancing school was dedicated to her and the ballet was an ‘English country garden’ theme. As a school, we agreed that the proceeds from the show would go to charity.
I knew of Breast Cancer Now (at the time Breakthrough Breast Cancer) from years before when Avon cosmetics were promoting breast awareness. As we are all female in the dancing school it seemed natural to want to support breast cancer research to help our sisters, mothers and girlfriends.
Lynda and many women like her – my dear friends Jan, Agnes, Deborah, Veronica, Maralyn and Rosemary – shouldn’t have died so young and we have a duty to keep up the fight and help with research.
These days things are so much better for women who find themselves diagnosed with breast cancer, like my friends Jane, Barbara and Jilla, and we will surely beat this disease with Breast Cancer Now’s help.
Helping future generations
My daughters and I have taken part in the Breast Cancer Now Generations Study, as have some of my friends and colleagues. Lynda and I were part of the twin study so even though I can only see her name on the wall – I still feel her. We will be 66 next month – she won’t be at the party – but her spirit will.
My dancing school will continue to support Breast Cancer Now and I salute the wonderful work that the charity does.
The £1,000 Challenge
Barbara is one of our £1,000 challengers and because of her fundraising, her sister Lynda’s name now appears on our £1,000 Challenge wall at the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre.
The £1,000 challenge started in 1990 to raise £15 million to fund the Breast Cancer Now Robins Research Centre. Since then, thousands more supporters have signed up to take the £1,000 challenge to help us beat breast cancer.
Interested in joining the £1,000 Challenge? Find out more information about the challenge here.