A cancer survivor has shown she has nearly 25,000 reasons to be be grateful for beating the disease.
Diane Hamlani turned to fundraising to help her as she fought against breast cancer - and has now passed the £24,000 mark in her efforts to raise cash for South Tyneside-based support group Cancer Connections.
Mrs Hamlani, 56, handed over her most recent cheque - for £7,000 - after she hosted a Glitz and Glamour Ball.
The event was the latest that the grandmother-of-four has organised over the last 10 years years for charity.
Mrs Hamlani, who has since returned to work as a cleaner at Harlow Printing and auxillery nurse, says that focusing on the fundraising helped her to get through what was she descrobed as the “worst time of her life.”
Praising the work of Cancer Connections, she said: “It’s very important to people who have been touched by cancer to have somewhere like this to come. Having cancer is one of the hardest journey’s you will ever have to go through in your life.
I wanted to do something to raise funds. Doing that, helped me to take my mind off everything else that was going on. It helped give me focus.Diane Hamlani
“To have somewhere you can come and people to talk to is invaluable.”
She added: “Living with cancer is a very lonely place. You have your partner, your family and friends, and they try and understand but they just don’t.
“You put on a smile and a brave face but, in reality, you just feel frightened every single day. Even when it goes, you are always living with the fear of it coming back.
“When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I started having treatment and honestly thought it was going to be a bad prognosis.
“I wanted to do something. Raise funds helped take my mind off everything else that was going on. It helped give me focus.
“I had my first event at the Whiteleas Club and it carried on from there.”
Diane was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2005 after first discovering the potential problem while on a family holiday.
Three years later it was feared the cancer had returned but, after an operation, nothing life-threatening was found.
In total Diane was off work for seven years.
Diane still needs to return to hospital for regular check-ups.
The latest fundraiser was held at the Cleadon Club and featured band Betchabygollywow.
Barclays Bank also match-funded the event up to £1,000 while Shaun Salder of UTS/UPS donated £500 and Harlow Printing £100.
Mrs Hamlani added: “I wanted to have a big Christmas party so I thought I’d organise one.
“It was a great night and I would like to thank you to everyone who made it possible and to the Cleadon Club for all their help.
“I can’t believe how much was raised.
“I know people who are receiving treatement and who use Cancer Connections so it means a lot to be able to hand over a cheque for this amount.”
Co-Founder of Cancer Connections Deborah Roberts said: “We are all really grateful for what Diane has done for us and the money she has raised.
“Without the kind donations and generosity of people like Diane, we wouldn’t be able to deliver the services that we do at Cancer Connections.”