Despite a challenging year, with your help we’ve achieved amazing things for people affected by breast cancer. Find out about our research, campaigning and incredible fundraisers.
In the first half of the year, serious lockdown measures prevented many researchers from being able to do their jobs. However, our scientists were desperate to get back to work, and still managed to make incredible progress despite the setbacks!
We’ve already written in more detail about our research wins, which have included new findings about secondary breast cancer, male breast cancer, and common risk factors.
Supporting people online
Another key part of our work that faced huge restrictions were our support programmes. Usually, we have face-to-face meetups across the UK for people with breast cancer - but those obviously came to a standstill early on in the year.
In order to continue our work, we set up online courses for Moving Forward and Living With Secondary Breast Cancer, where participants could still receive support and chat to one another virtually.
As well as closing our labs, the COVID-19 crisis also meant that the majority of our usual fundraising events couldn’t take place.
Even so, we still managed to get tons of you involved in our walk 300,000 challenge, hosting zoom quizzes for wear it pink events, and running team relays from a safe social distance.
We also saw some fantastic success from our REUNIGHT virtual event (which you can still ‘attend’ online) and enjoyed seeing many of you participate in virtual Afternoon Teas.
Of course, the people who made those events special were our wonderful fundraisers.
There was Natalie, who ran in her local park dressed as a T-rex after a local fundraiser was cancelled, Linda, who raised funds while supplying free meals to local NHS staff and vulnerable people, and Alex, who took part in the virtual cycling Tour de Law course in memory of her mother. In total, the cyclists raised more than £207k, which Alex says ‘exceeded all expectations’.
‘Many wanted to be able to do something positive and healthy, break up the monotony of lockdown life and give something back in support of those who have been hit hard,’ she said.
We’d also like to give a shout out to Matt and his team, who ran the length of Hadrian’s wall in just three days, Emma, who completed her own personal Edinburgh marathon, and everyone who shared their 2.6 challenge fundraising stories with us.
Meanwhile, we’ve been working hard to make a difference for those who have been and will continue to be affected by breast cancer.
Our Press Play report highlighted the ways in which COVID-19 has set back treatment for breast cancer patients, and has made recommendations for ways in which the government can expediate our return to normal services.
We also called on the government to commit funding into breast cancer research as part of their spending review, and, in November, we were pleased to see some progress in our call for a bigger focus on secondary breast cancer needs.
Hope for next year
As the effects of the pandemic ease up, we hope to see life return to normal very soon.
This means a return to the labs for our scientists, a return to our offices for the rest of our staff nationwide, a return to our face-to-face services, and a return to engaging with our wonderful supporters through fundraising events – so we hope to see you at some of them!
And of course, we will be continuing our mission to ensure that, by 2050, everybody who has breast cancer will live, and live well.
The coronavirus outbreak represents an unprecedented situation for all of us. Help us continue providing the life-changing care and world-class research that means so much to people affected by breast cancer.