Kate, a member of the Winkleigh Breast Cancer Now group, tells us how she was inspired to start the group after her daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Eighteen months ago my world fell apart when one of my beautiful daughters, Helen, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
How do you move on from this? I vividly remember her saying ‘you can do something positive with a negative thing that happens to you’ – this helped us to develop our approach to moving on.
Helen underwent multiple surgical procedures and chemotherapy throughout her treatment. On the very last day of her radiotherapy, she and six other breast cancer survivors formed the ‘M&S Magnificent Seven’ and undressed as part of their national campaign to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Now.
There was one small way I could help
Helen is truly inspirational, to me and everyone she meets. An oncologist recently told her, ‘Helen if you can stay alive for eight years, there is a good chance I can cure you!’ As her mum, this was indeed music to my ears, and I knew then that there was one small way I could help to make the consultant’s words come true – so I started fundraising to help find answers, for Helen and for others.
My friend Margery and I came up with an idea over lunch – to start a fundraising group. With the help of other wonderful friends, we became the Winkleigh Breast Cancer Now group.
The Winkleigh Breast Cancer Now Group
Winkleigh is a small peaceful village in Mid Devon and not the sort of place you would expect to find a thriving Breast Cancer Now Group, but thriving we are! In only a few months we have raised over £4,000 through a range of events including sponsored bunting making, teas in the community centre, champagne and nibbles evenings, safari suppers, strawberry teas and various clubs putting a pound into a collection pot each time they meet (these small amounts have soon mounted up).
Helen’s daughter, my five-year-old granddaughter, also decided she was going to help fundraise by opening a cafe for the day in my back garden. She issued specific instructions for the menu and invitations (I would be delivering the invitations by hand to my friends!) and raised £183 through her efforts!
The whole village has supported us: Barry the ‘Mad Butcher of Winkleigh’ (yes that’s really the name of his shop!) raffled a leg of lamb and raised £100; two local artists, Sylvia Smith and Margery Howard, donated four watercolour paintings of the village that have been printed into notelets for sale. It's amazing how the community have got behind us and really made things happen.
Coming up, Winkleigh Fair 2016 has nominated Breast Cancer Now as its sponsored charity for the year. If you find yourself in the Mid Devon area on Saturday 16 July, come and join in the fun and visit me for a cream tea in the garden, with all proceeds going to Winkleigh Breast Cancer Now Group.
We believe that if we all act now, by 2050 every person who develops breast cancer will live – but we can’t achieve this goal without your help.
If you, like Kate and her daughter Helen, would like to get more involved in your local community by raising vital funds for breast cancer research - we would love you to be a part of one of our regional Breast Cancer Now groups. You can find out more about our regional groups here.