Tuesday, 29 September 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Women at Pink Aerobics, held in Regents Park on Sunday, posed for a photo to acknowledge the 46,000 people who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year

There is so much happening at the moment that I am almost bewildered about where to start. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – or BCAM as it is referred to. One very important element is that it is a key time for us to get the message out about breast awareness – still too many women do not know what to look for and delay going to the doctor. See http://www.breastcancercampaign.org/breastcancer/aware/

However, it is also a very important time for us to raise money and that is where the bewilderment sets in. There is a huge range of our pink related products to buy, each one of which makes a contribution to research into breast cancer. You can go to the main Debenhams store in Oxford Street in London, or any large Debenhams store every day in October, and see staff and volunteers cycling the equivalent distance to the moon. There is a pink sparkly piggy bank which has my grand-daughter’s name on it – am toying with the mouse and mouse-pad – is that a sparkle too far?

The big ASDA Tickled Pink campaign has also launched and I shall be popping in to my local ASDA store to stock up on pink Energizer batteries and maybe a pink feather duster! The pink wellies from a couple of years ago have certainly earned their keep in the garden.

Sometimes people think that all this pink stuff has gone too far. None of this is to trivialise breast cancer as a disease. We do this for three reasons. First, women need to be aware of what the risks are and the possible symptoms: second, we need research to find out why breast cancer happens in the first place, how to treat it most effectively and how to prevent it; third, we need to ensure that any new developments are brought to patients as quickly as possible. (I will write more about aspects of these over the next few weeks).

None of these can be solved just by throwing money at them, but without money none of this would happen. The huge push this month is to raise that money so if at times you feel a bit “pinked out” – remember why we are doing it.

Sometimes even we also need reminding and a moving letter came in from one of our supporters last week. She and her colleagues had taken part in one of our £100 Challenges and raised over £700. She said that they had all had a wonderful time and then went on, “The work you do is so worthwhile and I speak from personal knowledge. I am still a breast cancer survivor, having been fighting the disease for almost 20 years and am now benefiting from infusions of the brittle bone drug you mentioned in your pamphlet as part of the trial at Sheffield. Mostly, thank you for your support which helped lead to that important discovery to which I owe my continued health. If it was not for fundraising such as you organise, I perhaps would not be writing this letter to you now nor helping to fund raise again in the not too distant future.”

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