Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Why a blog?

Why a blog? I am not so vain as to think that my words will be riveting to all or even some of the world at large. I do think that it might be interesting to hear about some of the things I become involved with through my job. Working for a charity is immensely rewarding but is not a warm and cuddly thing – not sure that it ever was. We are in the same commercial environment as any company – our cash is bringing in precious little interest and our supporters are being squeezed and having to make choices about how they spend/donate their money.

What is very different about us is that no one has to give us money: unlike government we can’t take it through taxes (and we are a darn sight more careful with our expenses……) and people don’t need to engage with us in order to eat or live or even impulse buy! What they do is take a leap of faith into the future by supporting research which may not bear fruit immediately – or in the case of many of our donors who are very ill with breast cancer – even in their lifetimes.

And yet – people still do support research. I would like to think that they have the same passion as I do – a great curiosity about why? and why not? and a refusal to accept that this is the best it can be. The statistics are showing us that the number of women (and men) dying of breast cancer is declining year on year – but these aren’t statistics – they are our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends and, yes, some of our husbands and dads as well. Also - the treatments that those who survive have to go through are pretty grim. There has to be a better way and every part of what we do is geared towards that. The choice of a puzzle piece for our logo was very significant – each piece of research is another piece of the puzzle and every now and then a chunk of the picture is revealed and diagnoses and treatments improve and more women survive.

This will be a personal blog and if it isn’t updated for a couple of days it’s because I am away – no one else will be updating it. As so much of my time is spent involved in the work of Breast Cancer Campaign it would be na├»ve to think that I won’t write about that: it also gives me a chance to write about the facts as we see them and not as the media might represent them (we really do love you guys but not all stories are as black and white as you may have to report them). I will also write about other things which I hope you will find interesting.

I will start off with where the personal meets the day job: I am constantly in awe of my colleagues who between them have run marathons, half-marathons, 10k and 5k runs; they have climbed the Great Wall of China and trekked across Mexico (not recently!) and climbed the Three Peaks – in addition to working very hard.

Fortunately none of this is part of our job descriptions which means that I have been able to maintain my slothful status. However, they have now come up with a challenge which even I can’t refuse – STEP ON IT. The challenge is to walk 46,000 steps – around a step for each of the 45,500 women and 300 men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the UK. This may not seem like much of a challenge to you but as someone whose pedometer rarely registers in the low thousands – it sure is a challenge to me!!

In order not to seem too much of a wimp about this I am proposing to do it over a weekend in May - it is I believe the equivalent of about 22 miles so it will be a challenge. I will walk with a pedometer which records the total number of steps and, providing I am still able to walk on the Monday, will get my colleagues to check it and sign me off.

Naturally I am delighted to share this news with all of you – but not just for your hilarity and mirth – I would really appreciate it if you would sponsor me.

To be really serious for a moment - it is going to be a tough year for raising money - just at the point when the demands for research funding are increasing substantially and such progress is being made. Breast cancer doesn’t recognise credit crunches and over a weekend over 65 people in the UK will die of breast cancer. That in itself is pretty powerful motivation for me but the biggest motivation is the women for whom this is too late but who spent their last few months raising money for research. Alison, who was our first committed supporter when we had two staff and had just supported our first research project, raised money through years of treatment until she died. Liz who raised the largest amount of money we had ever received from an event at the time – just months before she died. She said – “I need to do something big and quickly so that this doesn’t happen to my daughters”. The list is long and we are supporting research which is world class to beat breast cancer.

So - you can donote through my
Justgiving page or
donate through Breast Cancer Campaign’s website which is secure through SecPay. (If you are a UK tax payer – please tick the Gift Aid box and we can grab some of your tax back from the taxman.) Alternatively, you can send me a cheque or a charity voucher made out to Breast Cancer Campaign to Pamela Goldberg, Breast Cancer Campaign, Clifton Centre, 110 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HT.

I will let you know how I get on and if you’d like to do a STEP ON IT challenge yourself –
click onto the website

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