Secondary breast cancer charity Make 2nds Count has a million reasons to mark the occasion after reaching a phenomenal fundraising milestone.
Hitting the £1million mark is bringing hope to those living with the forgotten form of cancer through financing vital research at universities across the UK and providing much-needed support for patients and families.
The disease – also known as metastatic, advanced or stage IV breast cancer – is an incurable cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body. It can be treated but, on average, there are around 35,000 patients in the UK living with secondary breast cancer and the death toll here is a shocking 1000 women a month.
Make 2nds Count founder Lisa Fleming, 38, of Edinburgh, set up the charity in 2018 and says: “Reaching our £1million fundraising milestone is just the most exciting start to what we predict will be another productive year for us.
“And while we look forward to achieving so much more, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us reach that phenomenal million-pound total. Our supporters really do provide a lifeline and without them we would be unable to make the progress we have accomplished in raising awareness of this disease, in funding dedicated research and in facilitating projects like access to patient trials. Every contribution and donation are enormously appreciated.”
The £1million milestone was reached thanks to activities including an Inaugural Gala Ball at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House Hotel and £500,000 from individual fundraisers who took part in events from abseiling off the Forth Rail Bridge to skydiving, trekking the Arctic, running 12 marathons in 12 days and walking 500 miles.
The UK-wide charity focuses on patients and families of women and men living with secondary breast cancer and among its biggest achievements has been donating £270,000 in research funds to the Universities of Edinburgh, Warwick, Liverpool and Sussex. It also launched the Patient Trial Advocate Service, in partnership with NHS Lothian, last year which has already helped 65 patients gain vital information about clinical trials.
Other initiatives supported by the fundraising include: the first 2nds Together Wellbeing Retreats giving patients a much-needed relaxing break from treatments; a virtual Wellbeing Week with sessions led by industry experts; and littlelifts boxes, packed full of mood-boosting goodies and practical products to support women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
One of those to benefit is Make 2nds Count patient champion Tricia. She says: “I don’t know how I would have coped without Make 2nds Count and the support services I have been able to access. There is nothing like it where I live in the Scottish Highlands. The Tea and A Chat has been a lifesaver for me – being able to talk to others who ‘get it’ is so important.
“And the Wellbeing Week gave me a much-needed boost, so much fun and very informative. It’s difficult put into words what the retreat meant to me. To meet in person others I’ve only met on zoom was incredible. The love and support I felt from the group were inspiring.”
Lisa set up Make 2nds Count after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. She had had no primary diagnosis, warning signs or lump when she was told the disease had already spread to the majority of her bones. It swiftly spread to her brain and she continues to live with the disease – knowing it is also a death sentence.
Donations to help the charity provide more support, education and research funds come from a variety of sources including individual and corporate fundraising, legacies, the Make 2nds Count Lottery and the annual Make Christmas Count campaign. To find out how to contribute go to https://www.make2ndscount.co.uk/get-involved/ and https://www.make2ndscount.co.uk/donate .