Last weekend saw the first of our badge sales in the Swansgate Centre in Wellingborough.
Once again we reacquainted ourselves with many familiar faces who have generously supported us over the years and met many more inspirational people, all with their stories to tell.
It was a highly emotionally-charged day and sales were exceptionally good, but far more important was giving people time and the opportunity to talk of their personal associations with breast cancer, and other cancers; their fears, relief at having finished treatment, concerns about a recent diagnosis and what may lie ahead.
People’s accounts were both sad and happy.
For me, personally, having spearheaded our charity for over 12 years, passions of creating a much-needed specialist breast cancer support centre in the county became more and more urgent.
A shopping centre is not the place to offload fears and anxieties; our little office housed in the middle of an industrial estate is not ideal, hospitals are finding it harder and harder to devote time to listen and offer the support that is required; hospices are struggling.
I could go on.
With our ever-growing population, numerous new housing estates being built and cancer cases on the rise, what does the future hold?
How will everyone cope? I urge all councillors and medical hierarchy to really think ahead and realistically plan for the future.
Let’s put Northamptonshire on the map and put structures in place now to provide cancer patients and carers, and that of other just as important illnesses and diseases, the levels of support that are increasingly needed.
Standing in the centre on Saturday was an eye-opener to realise just how many people’s lives are affected by cancer.
In order to provide essential care and support, our voices must be heard and those with the clout must listen.