Ladies Day

01/03/2011

Its a story of courage, camaraderie and caring. ZOE ASH reveals how local breast cancer support group the Pink Ladies, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, has helped change the lives of women throughout the island.

SUPPORT and lasting friendship has seen Guernsey's Pink Ladies celebrate their 10th anniversary.

The breast cancer support group was co-founded by Jo Allen, Nancy Golland,Doreen Le Poidevin and Amanda Brown. And now, a decade on, Mrs Allen realises how they could not have begun to envisage the huge impact it was to have on their lives, forging life-long bonds and relationships.

'I know that none of us ever imagined we would get breast cancer. But despite that, I have made some truly treasured friends as we have travelled the journey together.'

The party also remembered the late Anne McMillan, whom Mrs Allen said would be remembered as the 'mum' of the original group and who had been an inspiration to many facing breast cancer.

'Her optimism, determination and good humour always shone through,' she said.

It was Mrs McMillan who held the first event in July 2001, a Strawberry Tea inher garden. She was also instrumental in organising the first Sunset Coastal Walk, in 2007, which brought together generations of women throughout the Island and raised 103,000 to help patients.  

Lead nurse for cancer and palliative care services, and facilitator of the support group, Karen Leach was among medical staff at the party. She has helped and supported the group since it was set up and said she was in awe of the Ladies.

'They are an inspiration and a force of nature. My hope and aim each day is to make a difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. Their support and encouragement challenges me to do this,' she said.

Mrs Allen said reaching the 10th anniversary was a major milestone and had only been possible thanks to the support of the public. She said the group had grown beyond its wildest expectations, from a small team up to its 113 members today.

As well as offering support they have also raised awareness of breast cancerand the importance of early detection.

'Over the years I have had comments from people asking why our group is so successful.'

'I think it is because the group is run by us, for us and that is very empowering' said Mrs Allen.

She said 'all the members were passionate about improving the lives of others with breast cancer, because they had experienced the journey themselves.'

'Unfortunately there are very few people, even in an island as small as ours, who don't know someone who has been affected by the disease and therefore the work that we do really touches so many people.'

GEP Article 1st March 2011



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