Jo Kent Afternoon Tea celebration at home

We were blown away by everyone’s generosity at our Afternoon Tea

After finishing her breast cancer treatment, Jo and her neighbours were taken aback when they raised an amazing £770 at their Afternoon Tea fundraiser.

I never thought breast cancer could happen to me 

I was diagnosed with ER+, HER2+ breast cancer in September 2020. Too young for the screening programme, I had found a lump in my right breast.  

I really didn’t think it could happen to me: there’s no history of cancer in my family, I’m vegetarian, I don’t smoke and I’m a keen runner. I was wrong!  

My husband wasn’t even allowed into the consulting room 

This was in the middle of the pandemic, which made life even more difficult: my husband wasn’t even allowed into the consulting room when I was given my diagnosis. Nor could I have any visitors or chaperones during my 18 months of treatment. I had 2 lumpectomies (unfortunately they didn’t get a clear margin), then 16 rounds of chemotherapy, which I found the hardest and most gruelling part.  

I then had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and 12 months of Herceptin and Pejeta, and I’m still having bisphosphonate treatments. I feel like I had every treatment going, and I’m so grateful to my team who looked after me.  

Breast Cancer Now’s Moving Forward course’s really helps your mental health  

Not once did my surgeon, nurse, oncologist or physiotherapist ask me what was going on in my head. 

A lot of people had warned me about depression after treatment, so I wanted to arm myself with tools to cope with the ‘after-treatment’ period. I heard about Breast Cancer Now’s Moving Forward course on a podcast and was really attracted by the mental health aspect. Cancer treatments are amazing, but they focus very much on the physical.  

One thing that stuck with me was the advice to treat yourself kindly and think how you’d respond to another person voicing the same fears. I try to be kinder with my self-talk now. I wouldn’t say the fear of cancer has gone completely, but it’s fading slightly each day.  

Besides mental health, the course also covered nutrition, exercise and intimacy. Thanks to the course, I looked into vaginal oestrogen (which I didn’t even know was a thing!) as the chemotherapy pushed me into early menopause.  

I’d highly recommend the course to anyone coming towards the end of their cancer treatment. 

My support network helped hugely 

Elizabeth and Theresa are some of my good friends and neighbours. We’re also the unlucky trio: we’ve all had breast cancer and have had a myriad of (thankfully successful) treatments between us. 

It was a great comfort to have Elizabeth and Theresa to talk to while I was going through treatment. They had been there and done that and knew what I was going through.  

We’ve now all finished treatment which is brilliant. 

Jo and friends outside

We held an Afternoon Tea fundraiser to give back 

On 6 August 2022, Elizabeth, Theresa and I held an Afternoon Tea to fundraise for A Breast Cancer Now. It was an opportunity to get all the neighbours together for a chinwag, raise some money for a great cause and to give something back. 

After deciding on a date, I printed out the invitations and put them through letter boxes. Elizabeth sent out a village-wide email to our neighbours, and I posted on our village Facebook page. 

Theresa organised the borrowing of mugs and an urn from our village hall (saved a lot of effort boiling the kettle), as well as napkins and plates. Most cakes were homemade, and some neighbours were also kind enough to bake for us. We weren’t going to refuse their help! 

We also bought a cake to decorate for our ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition, and we supplemented the cakes with some shop-bought biscuits.  

Cake with a breast illustration on it

People’s warmth and support shone through 

The weather was kind to us, and we enjoyed a good few hours of socialising and eating more than our fair share of cake!  

We were blown away by everyone’s generosity. People were so kind.  We raised £770, way more than expected. I think everyone understood we had gone through treatment, and I felt their warmth and support that afternoon, and almost everyone knew someone who’d been affected by breast cancer. 

It was a positive event for everyone involved, and I wouldn’t hesitate in organising another Afternoon Tea fundraiser for Breast Cancer Now. 

 

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Inspired to get involved? Join amazing fundraisers like Jo and hold an Afternoon Tea this August.  

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