BREAST CANCER SERVICES IMPROVED AND AWARDS WON AS LFBC MARKS A SUCCESSFUL 2015

Birmingham-based Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer (LFBC) is celebrating a trio of award wins as it marks the end of another successful year fundraising in the region.

Last week, the charity picked up its third award of 2015, when it was crowned ‘Charity of the Year’ at the very first Birmingham Awards. Held at Edgbaston Stadium last Friday, the event celebrated the best of Birmingham’s people and places, with awards handed out for categories including Business of the Year, Retailer of the Year, Venue of the Year, Sporting Initiative, and Young Achiever. LFBC beat off competition from esteemed local charities Edmund’s Trust, Lilli Mai Luci, Amardeep Singh, and N.I.C.E. and was chosen as the city’s favourite charity, in a public and judging panel vote.

This win completes an exciting year for the charity, which has seen LFBC expand its services for men and women diagnosed with Breast Cancer. An experienced project coordinator was appointed in early 2015 to deliver new projects in the community, including providing support groups for patients. Lisa Mulheir, who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013 and successfully went through treatment, is the ideal candidate to lead on this and set up ‘Lisa’s Gathering’, which supports people newly diagnosed and those who need support during and after treatment. Working alongside LFBC, Lisa is able to make direct contact and invite them along to the bi-monthly meetings.

Building on the success of Lisa’s Gathering, LFBC hopes to establish similar groups in Sandwell and Walsall in early 2016. Working directly with people who have been previously or recently diagnosed is important to the charity and a new volunteer coordinator, Yvonne Sinclair, who also received a Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2013 now organises the charity’s volunteers, making sure it has support for events across the region. LFBC recruits volunteers from across a range of communities, cultural backgrounds and disciplines, and provides relevant training to ensure they are equipped to support in areas such as self-examination, funding, and representing the charity at public events.

This direct work in the community follows 15 years’ fundraising for medical services by the charity. Led by volunteers, LFBC has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and funds, and is the UK’s only regional charity for the disease. The charity has already funded over £1million worth of medical equipment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, including a Mobile Mammogram Trailer that allows up to ten women an hour to be x-rayed in their local area; an Ultra Sound Scanner for diagnosing breast disease; a Cooling Cap to reduce hair loss during treatment; and a Faxitron X-Ray Machine that enables microscopic clarity during biopsies. As well as changing the face of treatment, the funding from LFBC has seen the Breast Unit attract the best medical teams from around the UK. The charity joined forces with QEHB Charity in 2014 to launch a further £1 Million Appeal, which has already seen the purchase of a second mobile mammogram trailer, and will fund ‘soft services’ at the new planned breast unit. This will include a patients’ lounge, not-for-profit hair salon and beauty services for cancer patients, mastectomy room and diagnostic suite.

Earlier this year, LFBC’s Co-Founder Veronica Kumeta, from Stourbridge, won the Pride of Birmingham ‘Vision Award’. The event was held at the Town Hall and hosted by Gaby Roslin back in October to celebrate the most inspirational causes and fundraisers in the city. Veronica was presented with the award for her work in setting up LFBC after two of her friends were diagnosed and subsequently died from the disease. This win was very quickly followed by the charity being awarded the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award, which recognises volunteers working in the community and making a difference to people around them. In his statement, Prime Minister David Cameron, said:

“After seeing her friend Carol battle breast cancer, Veronica set herself the huge task of supporting hundreds of ladies across Birmingham living with the disease. The amount she has raised to complement the work of the NHS is outstanding, and her work provides a beacon of hope for so many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. She is thoroughly deserving of this Points of Light award.”

Talking about the charity’s expansion, Veronica said:

“It’s safe to say that we are riding high as we mark the end of 2015. It has been such a fantastic year for the charity and testament to the hard work of every Trustee, committee member, Ambassador, sponsor, and individual involved with LFBC. As a group, we have work tirelessly for 15 years to raise awareness for a disease that has become so common in our society. 1 in 8 people will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime – that’s both men and women – and these numbers are growing every year. Whilst treatments and survival rates are improving, it’s important that we continue to raise awareness and also provide vital funds to those who need.

“Winning these awards really is fantastic for us and they help reward our hard-working and dedicated Trustees, Patrons, Ambassadors, and volunteers. We rely on their support to spread the word about what we do and having such well-respected individuals, like Lord Digby Jones who is a Patron, really is fantastic for us. I am so proud of our expansion this year; raising money for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham continues but we are now on the ground in the community, making a difference to men and women who are going through this challenging time in their lives. I have no doubt that, as a team, we will really build on this year’s success with our existing supporters and hopefully new ones that come on board as a result of these award wins.”

To find out more about LFBC, what the charity does and how it makes a difference, visit www.ladiesfightingbreastcancer.org.uk. You will also find information on how you can fundraise and volunteer.

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