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Clare and her friend in coats and scarfs at the Pink Ribbon Walk finish line in Chatsworth cheering on walkers

From Pink Ribbon Walk volunteers to close friends

After having breast cancer, Clare and Carole signed up to volunteer at a Pink Ribbon Walk. They hit it off from the start, bonding through laughing, dancing, and cheering-on the walkers.

Can you tell us about your experience of breast cancer?

Clare: I was 32 when I was diagnosed. My mum had died of breast cancer 6 months earlier, so I was already at a low point. My diagnosis was a shock, but it wasn’t unexpected after my auntie’s as well as my mum’s diagnosis. I’d just imagined that, if it happened, I would be much older. Sadly, in the years after my diagnosis, 3 out of my 4 sisters also got the news they had breast cancer.

After my diagnosis, a fantastic surgeon carried out my mastectomy and an immediate reconstruction. And I’m still lucky enough to be here 26 years later.

Carole: After my diagnosis in October 2018, I stepped onto a fast rollercoaster of treatment, including a mastectomy, lymph node clearance, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It was an ordeal but, being a strong Yorkshire lass, I waded through it all, many hideous times.

My mum is a breast cancer survivor, and a shining light to us all at 90-years-old. I‘ve lost both my brother and sister to cancer but I try to send out lots of hope and inspiration, partly by getting involved in events like this. And, of course, having some much-needed fun along the way!

Two women outside at Breast Cancer Now event.

Why did you decide to volunteer with us?

Clare: I wanted to do my bit to help such an amazing organisation. I knew it would be really worthwhile.

Carole: I used Breast Cancer Now’s Someone Like Me  service, and it was an absolute godsend. Breast Cancer Now helped me so much, so I wanted to give something back.

How did you meet and become friends?

Clare: Carole and I met through volunteering at a Pink Ribbon Walk in 2022. We were both on the registration desk team where we checked the walkers in.

We hit it off immediately. We spent a lot of the day together and shared our stories. Carole is such a star. We catch up regularly and she’s become a great friend.

Carole: Clare helped me as I was a tad rusty on the laptop, having been out of work for a while, and the hilarity started there. We spent the whole time chatting, laughing, and sharing the good and the bad.

At the finish line, we literally never stopped shaking our tambourines, singing, dancing, and having a ball.

Two women outside at event

What’s it like to be a Pink Ribbon Walk volunteer?

Carole: It’s so much fun. I did it again last year and I can’t wait to do it this year. It’s one of the best days ever and cheering at the finish line is so heart-warming.

I love being part of a team that cares about the same thing. And you get to meet lovely volunteers. I couldn’t be happier to have met Clare, her friend Michelle, and all the other troopers. And the Breast Cancer Now team are stars, they’re lovely, kind people, and I can't wait to see them again this year.

Clare: I absolutely love volunteering at the Pink Ribbon Walk, it’s my highlight of the year. I love standing at the finish line, cheering the walkers on for their last push, and seeing the emotion. Meeting brilliant volunteers and seeing the lovely Breast Cancer Now staff is the icing on the cake.

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?

Clare: Do it, do it, do it! You’ll have the most fantastic and rewarding day. Once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again. It’s such an uplifting day.

Someone told me that without the volunteers, they simply couldn’t put the event on. So, you’d be a huge help.

Carole: I would urge anyone thinking about volunteering to dive right in there. You’ll absolutely love it, and you can make great friends.

 

Join our brilliant volunteers

If you would like to lend a hand at our Pink Ribbon Walks, we'd love to have you on board. Anyone can sign up. It doesn't matter if you've had a breast cancer diagnosis or just want to support us on the day. 

Pink Ribbon Walk volunteer

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