Jess is a 45-year-old educator and mother to Noah. Since first being diagnosed in 2016, she’s been passionate about spreading awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

My first diagnosis in 2016 was a shock to say the least 

I was 36 and not expecting to be told I had cancer. Who is? Having completed chemotherapy, radio therapy and immunotherapy I was pleased to attempt to return to a more stable life. Then came the second diagnosis and I was told the cancer was metastatic and had decided to make its home in my bones as well as my breast and lymph nodes. So, I’m now 45-year-old Jess with a terminal illness that impacts my thoughts daily, as well as decides when I’m available to live my life around hospital visits, treatment schedules, blood tests and scans!  

Jess wearing pink with her son
Jess and her son, Noah

I live for my son, he’s my world 

Noah has been the making of me. He was born in 2010 and all was well until 2016. After the first diagnosis, I became frustrated with the current education system so retrained as a Forest School Leader. In 2019, I left the profession to begin my own alternative education business using nature as the focus for learning. The business has developed into a team of 11 self-employed passionate nature-led educators. I love being able to support them in their work despite being unable to work myself now. 

I want to shout about the awareness of breast cancer from the roof tops 

The main aim of my event was to share symptoms to look out for, and to highlight the need to ask for a referral to breast services at a local hospital. The sooner the disease is caught, the better the outcome. This was my aim, and the fundraising just became part of the event. I have used the services of several national and local charities, so I wanted to be able to give back a little. Registering and using the wear it pink campaign resources was easy.  They provided a simple guide to setting up the event, as well as breast awareness posters. 

I booked the local Rotary Club house for my event, perfectly located next to a public car park and toilets. They charged a reduced fee as the event was for charity, which I was grateful for. The location is right on our local beach in Hill Head, so the building and facilities were perfect for getting people to attend and also to hook in passersby. 

I asked friends to bake cakes and donate them. Those that were unable to attend the event were generous to bake and drop off in advance. Homemade cakes go down a treat and taste so much better than shop bought ones. 

Running a 3-hour event made it more relaxed and not too much for me to cope with. Friends were able to pop in around their regular plans. I chose a Sunday as I felt more people would be available to attend and support. 

Jess wearing pink next to a table with bakes and cakes

Not only did my friends turn up, but members of the public joined us for tea and cake. And who doesn’t love a spin on the tombola 

For me, a personal highlight was seeing the number of friends and supporters that joined me for the cake and tea. I realised that so many people care enough about me to take time from their own busy schedules to join us for the fun. It was either that or they just like eating cake as much as I do! Another personal highlight was the  realisation that the event raised so much money for charity, as well as awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer.  

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help and give them a specific time and task to do 

I found asking for an hour’s commitment meant that friends felt they could do their bit and then get on with their day rather than committing to a whole day of helping. 

For our silent auction we asked local businesses we regularly frequent for a donation. Many of them require a letter with a charity number on in advance so I took that with me. I also sent a thank you note to let them know how much their donated item raised which I think is important. 

I recommend asking for donations rather than a set price for cake and a hot drink. I found people to be far more generous with their donation than if I had asked for £3. 

Make the event fun for people, we’ve all been to fundraisers with limited atmosphere, so find a way to make people laugh. I found some pink photobooth type accessories in a charity shop and asked friends to take photos with me wearing a silly hat, feather boa or holding a sign I’d printed off the internet. 

Wear it pink like Jess

This October, wear pink, raise money and drive forward life-changing breast cancer research and vital support.

Register today

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