LIFE & LIVING
Norwich-based charity Keeping Abreast is encouraging everyone to think pink this autumn to raise awareness of breast reconstruction along with much-needed funds…
Keeping Abreast is asking people to think pink this month in support of those facing breast reconstruction after a breast cancer diagnosis or the discovery of a hereditary breast cancer gene.
October – or ‘OctoBRA’ – as the charity calls it, is breast cancer awareness month and on Wednesday 21st October Keeping Abreast will also be celebrating Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day or ‘BRA Day’.
Over the past few months, charities across the country have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with traditional fundraising activities, such as bake sales, balls and, in the case of Keeping Abreast, their well-known ‘More Than Just Fashion’ Shows, having to be cancelled or postponed.
Consequently, the charity is urging people to think of new ways to offer support this October by devising fundraising activities with a pink twist. There are all kinds of ways to get involved, whether dressing in pink, dyeing hair or beards pink or by holding a pink afternoon tea, dinner party or girls’ pamper night in perhaps. All of these will have to be socially-distanced, of course, and in line with current Government coronavirus guidelines. In fact, the options for some pink fun are endless – if you’re back in the office, you could arrange a “wear it pink” day at work, or perhaps take on a sporting challenge such as a run, walk or swim, wearing – you guessed it – pink! The charity even sells fuchsia pink face masks, which are £5 each plus P&P and which can be ordered at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now that we’re all having to adjust to the “New Normal”, other ideas include holding a virtual quiz or bingo night on Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or another platform, and asking people to dress in pink, make pink drinks or have pink prizes, while making a donation to the charity – see: www.keepingabreast.org.uk for ways to donate.
Keeping Abreast – which offers support to those going through or considering breast reconstruction – was the brainchild of patients Anna Beckingham and Beverley Birritteri and breast reconstruction nurse Ruth Harcourt from the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, who founded the charity in 2007. They recognised a need for women, both newly diagnosed with breast cancer and facing the possibility of mastectomy, and also women further down the line who are also considering reconstructive surgery, to be able to meet and talk to others who have been through similar experiences. This allows them to make an informed choice about whether or not to proceed with breast reconstruction and to help them through the process.
Over the years, the charity has grown from a single, Norwich-based unit to a nationwide concern, with support groups throughout Norfolk, as well as in Bristol, Cheltenham, Leicester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Telephone and online support is also available to anyone in the country. The charity has a wealth of supporters, including well-known actress Kim Cattrall, of Sex And The City fame, whose character, Samantha, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the height of the series.
Lisa Becker, fundraising manager for Keeping Abreast, said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for everyone so far and our traditional methods of support, such as face-to-face meetings, have all had to be cancelled. We have adapted as well as we can, however, by continuing to offer support to ladies with breast reconstruction concerns by phone or email and our support groups around the country have also devised a number of other methods of keeping in touch, from ‘Garden Gatherings’ of up to six people to Zoom Speaker Sessions, organised by KA HQ in Norwich, where we have a different speaker each time and people can join in from across the country.”
“Pink Octobra and BRA Day are very important dates in our calendar, as they help us raise much-needed money for those facing breast reconstruction as well as promoting public education, awareness and research.”
For more information on Pink Octobra and BRA Day and for a free pink fundraising pack full of tips and ideas, call 01603 819113,
email: email@example.com or message Keeping Abreast via social media.