TWO breast cancer survivors have came up with a bra-vellous idea to raise cash for charity
Accident-and-emergency unit nurse manager Julie Russell and auxiliary nurse Sarah Ward are looking to collect a tonne of unwanted bras – that’s about 9,000 of them – to raise £1,000 for Against Breast Cancer.
The best-preserved of the garments they collect will be distributed to women in developing countries.
The pair were inspired to help the charity by raising cash after they were both diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
Mrs Ward, 40, of Jarrow, and Miss Russell, 47, of North Tyneside, both work for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, and their bosses are wholeheartedly backing their fundraising quest.
The former, a nurse at Jarrow’s Palmer Community Hospital, said: “We would love to collect a tonne of bras to raise £1,000 and, with the help of staff and their families, we think we can achieve this.
“We’ve both supported each other through our battles and thought it would be a good way to help others.”
“We’ve only just started to collect the bras, and already we have more than 50.
“It’s great to think that these bras might end up being used by ladies on the other side of the world, and we can raise money for research into cancer too.”
The latter, employed in the A&E unit at South Tyneside District Hospital, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2012 after going for a breast-enhancement operation.
Mrs Ward added: “Looking back, it was the best £4,000 I ever spent.
“It saved my life because the surgeon spotted the lump, which was so deep down I would probably have never felt it, and it was caught early. I was very lucky.”
Mrs Ward was told she had the disease in September 2012 shortly after her son was stillborn.
She said: “After I’d lost my son, I noticed some changes in my breast, so I went to my GP to see what was going on, then after tests, it was discovered I had an 8cm tumour.”
Both ladies have had mastectomies and face further reconstructive surgery, but they are now focusing on their fundraising mission and encouraging their colleagues and Gazette readers to donate their bras to help them hit their target.
Miss Russell added: “We’ve had great support so far. Even the trust’s chief executive, Lorraine Lambert, has donated.
“Anyone can get involved. All they have to do is come to either South Tyneside or the Palmer Community Hospital and they’ll be able to drop their bras off.”
Helen Ray, the trust’s chief operating officer, added: “This is a very worthy cause, and I’m sure our staff, who are always very generous in their support for charity, will respond to the challenge.”