Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Changing Lives with One Heart and One Voice. The Inspiring Work of Breast Cancer Now.

There is nothing more comforting than someone to talk to, and in a time of need this can be the greatest comfort of all.  Uncertainty lingers in all our lives during these unprecedented times, but the lack of clarity for those diagnosed with breast cancer is unfortunately one known to many.  However, it is the inspiring charity Breast Cancer Now that has long sought to decipher this often fearful road that lies ahead. Through a combination of life-changing care and world-class research, Breast Cancer Now ensures that no one walks that road alone.  As the third and final charity that My Sevenoaks Community are proud to champion this year, Breast Cancer Now has been a solace to many diagnosed since it was first established in 1973 by founder Betty Westgate MBE.

Betty Westgate MBE

Although the organisation has grown and developed over the years, the main principle has remained the same: to provide information and support to anyone affected by breast cancer.  The charity stands as a great testament to Betty’s tenacity and passion to make things better for people facing this disease. With nurses, expertly trained staff and volunteers, combined with award-winning information, those diagnosed can be certain that they will be given the support required to help them deal with the physical and emotional impacts that breast cancer inflicts.  From courses, groups, events, forums, services, publications and helplines – this charity truly ensures that no one living with breast cancer will be left in the dark  .

Creating optimism and hope so that patients can enjoy a brighter future full of simple delights, rather than one plagued with uncertainty and fear is what makes this charity a true pillar of strength to many. Through their incredible funding of £243 million towards almost 360 of the brightest minds in breast cancer research, this charity is determined to fight the battles of all those diagnosed in every way possible. But funding does not stop there.  Currently Breast Cancer Now is financing around 80 cutting-edge projects across the UK worth just over £29 million.  With these fruitful funds serving as the driving force behind the future freedoms of those battling the disease;  discoveries of preventative measures, saving lives and offering stability is what gives Breast Cancer Now the power to drive forward on a global stage.

It is the incredible efforts of local change makers though which have united so many, creating an unstoppable force to write a future where everyone with breast cancer lives – and is supported to live well.  A local force and true asset behind this charity is the determined and inspiring Stephanie Harrison.  A prominent figure in the Sevenoaks area, Steph works relentlessly to inject her passion and knowledge into supporting the cause since receiving her own diagnosis back in 2008.  Like many affected by  the disease, Breast Cancer Now proved invaluable to Steph throughout her journey.  It was an encounter during her visit to a hospital appointment in which she witnessed a young girl in her twenties receiving the devastating news of a diagnosis which was the catalyst for her future involvement in this charity.  Deeply saddened by the prospect of what this young girl would have to endure, Steph’s desire to become a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Now was ignited.

Stephanie Harrison

During her 13 years of support, Steph’s zest for life and wholehearted involvement has been instrumental to the success of local fundraising events in aid of this remarkable charity. From Sevenoaks Pink Week, to concerts, evenings interviewing author Martina Cole, and even the perk of a pink Rolls Royce parading the town, Steph’s contributions have helped raise a staggering £200,000 so far, illustrating how uniting a community can create a profound impact.

Such an impact in both raising money and awareness has equally been achieved by the sponsorship and enduring support of businesses, sports clubs and residents of Sevenoaks. Steph emphasised her gratitude for this in saying:

‘Knowing you have people who will support you is vital to a fundraiser, and I have been so lucky in that regard, because you cannot do it alone. People like fellow Sevenoaks resident Ann Ruddle, who was always there to lend a hand or bake a cake, make the job easier and far more enjoyable. To all those people I would like to say a huge thank you from myself and all the people your support has helped at Breast Cancer Now’.

A true inspiration to many and a local hero, Steph serves as an example of just one of the inspiring volunteers working to change the lives of those diagnosed with breast cancer through one voice and one heart.

If you would like advice on breast cancer, or would like to donate or support the charity’s future fund raising events then visit their website https://breastcancernow.org/ where you will find an abundance of valuable information.

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