Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Every month around 5,000 people are diagnosed and whilst 80% of cases occur in women over the age of 50, there are still 5,600 women under the age of 45 who will also be diagnosed (ref. Breast Cancer Care). However, breast cancer has no respect for age, race or gender and around 350 men will also be diagnosed each year (ref. Breast Cancer Now).
It’s a sobering thought isn’t it? Most people think that it will never happen to them, but unfortunately it can and for us, it did!
We are a group of ladies who have all been through our own breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. We met at a local support group (Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal) whilst going through treatment and soon became friends as we all shared a common bond, finding that only those who have experienced cancer first-hand can really understand how it feels to be in your shoes. This kind of peer support really is invaluable. Two years later and already our little band has one less member, as we have unfortunately lost one of our group to this life-changing disease. Driven by the need to do something and inspired by others, we decided to throw caution to the wind and produce our own ‘Calendar Girls’ style calendar in support of Crazy Hats and Cransley Hospice. With that, ‘Dare To Bare…to be breast cancer aware’ was born!
However for us this isn’t just a fundraising activity; our aims are threefold (because we like a challenge!)
- To promote breast cancer awareness – according to a survey by Breast Cancer Care, 33% of women do not check themselves regularly and 20% say this is because they don’t know how to. Our calendar contains simple, easy to understand information explaining how to carry out a self-examination and what to do if you are concerned in any way.
- To show the world that while we may be post-cancer and have the scars to prove it, we are still extremely proud of who we are and how we look.
- To raise funds for two local charities, Cransley Hospice in Kettering and Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal in Wellingborough, both of which provided support to us and our families throughout our treatment.
Jayne, Debbie, Loraine, Lucy, Amanda and Nila