When Sarah Pattinson started a fundraising drive inspired by her sister’s battle with breast cancer, she never imagined both she and their mother would also be affected.
But almost 10 years on, all three are recovered and their fundraising efforts have been given offical charity status.
Pink Events has now raised a staggering £120,000 for cancer charities, especially the Breast Care Unit at St James’s Hospital and Cancer Research UK.
Sarah said she was delighted that they’d become a registered charity: “Having the charity status is fantastic for all of us and we are very proud of our achievement.
“This will open up more opportunities for us to raise money. In particular we are looking at being the nominated charity for as many companies as possible this year, something we were not able to do without this status.”
It was 2005 when Sarah decided to start Pink Events, after her sister Kimberley O’Rourke was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kimberley underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which was a success, and the work of Pink Events to support cancer research charities in Yorkshire continued.
However in 2009 Sarah herself was told she too had the disease, and also had to undergo treatment including chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Both sisters developed heart conditions from the chemotherapy, but are now well and just have annual check-ups.
In another blow for the family, their mum Maureen Young was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and needed radiotherapy.
And despite a raft of hurdles on the way, all three are now well and still determined to help other people.
Maureen said: “We got through it and we have all survived.”
Over the years, fundraising events have included a walk along the Great Wall of China, a cycle ride from London to Paris, Molton Brown pamper evenings, fashion shows and their annual Pink Ball.
All three are on the Pink Events committee, along with Jacky Lister, Christine Dufton and Mandy Bellfield.
They celebrated their latest achievements at this year’s ball at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds, held during October’s breast cancer awareness month and raised over £16,000.
Sarah added: “Having witnessed the incredible work that St James’s and Cancer Research UK, amongst others, are doing, it is imperative that funds continue to be raised on their behalf as the equipment they require costs an inconceivable amount of money.”
“Whilst we have raised an astonishing amount so far, this accreditation opens the door to more fundraising opportunities, including the ability to approach larger businesses to appoint us as their preferred charity - ultimately cancer patients and research will benefit.”
Philip Turton, senior breast care consultant at St James’s Hospital, said: “We are very pleased to hear the Pink Events committee has been awarded charitable status. This is yet another illustration of the unending determination of the committee to continue to support breast cancer services at the highest level for the good of patients.
“On behalf of the Leeds Breast Unit and the patients we serve, we are indebted and forever grateful for your dedication.”
To get involved, visit www.pinkevents.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Macmillan Cancer Support’s free cancer information service is stopping off in Leeds tomorrow.
No appointment is needed and all are welcome to talk to a team of specialists to get free, confidential, advice about any aspect of cancer.
Helen Kennedy, Macmillan Information and support specialist, said: “It’s so important to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, as with all types of cancer, the earlier it is detected and the sooner it is treated the better the outcome is likely to be.
The mobile team will be at Albion Street between 10am and 4pm tomorrow.
** Symptoms of breast cancer in women are: Lumps or thickening of breast tissue
Continuous pain in a breast or armpit
One breast becoming larger or lower
Nipples becoming inverted, changing shape or position
Nipples developing a rash, crusting or producing discharge
Swelling under the armpits or around the collarbone.
Men may have swelling or painless lumps.