Prevent Breast Cancer’s Executive Director Nikki Barraclough rounds up the highlights of 2018
2018 has been an incredible year for Prevent Breast Cancer; there have been so many key moments, and there are just too many people to thank. We’ve seen some amazing fundraising events organised by groups of friends, companies and schools, including events held by those who have been personally affected by breast cancer, so it’s an absolute honour to see them achieve their fundraising goals.
Every now and again, we have a story to tell that truly stands out. This year, it was the story of Gabriella Gratrix and her partner Chris O’Hare. Just like too many women each year, in 2017, Gabs was diagnosed with breast cancer. Whilst undergoing treatment, Gabs decided that she wanted to cycle around the world – so Chris and Gabs decided to make her dream a reality, planning a self-funded trip to cycle over 100,000km over the course of seven years!
It was a true pleasure to play a small part in bringing their dreams to life. Chris and Gabs are the most committed and driven couple I have ever met, and we had a lot of fun along the way (I’ll save the machete story for another time!), and their emotional send-off from The Nightingale Centre was an unforgettable experience. They are currently in Italy, where the weather is getting increasingly cold and the challenge is getting tougher each day, so if you haven’t already done so, please support Chris and Gabs to help them to reach their target of £100,000.
Joining our 34-strong cycling team to ride the last 35 miles of the Salzburg to Vienna cycling challenge, which finished in front of the stunning Hofburg Palace, was also a key moment. It was actually a last-minute decision to fly out and join some of my friends who were taking part in the event, and although it wasn’t a work trip, it perfectly demonstrates the strong bonds that we build with our supporters, many of whom become lifelong friends. It was by no means an easy feat, but the team raised over £80,000 for Prevent Breast Cancer.
In October, I attended the Women of the Year awards in London, which was a day I’ll never forget. It was a true privilege to be there as a representative of the charity and to meet so many high-achieving women from all different sectors and walks of life was life-affirming – it’s amazing how many of us suffer from imposter syndrome! The most memorable moments from the event were sitting at the same table as Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, meeting war correspondent, Kate Adie, and listening to Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of Stemettes, accepting her Woman of the Year award.
Another highlight was winning the award for best event at the North West Charity Awards, for Stars In Their Eyes: Live Revival. The event itself was unbelievable, and one of the reasons that I love my job! It was the dream of one of our dedicated supporters, Linda Kelly (no relation to Matthew!), who worked on the original TV show. Together with Suzanna Dhawan, they worked tirelessly to put together the once-in-a-lifetime event. It wasn’t easy; we faced many obstacles along the way, and relied heavily on the goodwill of others, including many of the original cast and crew. In spite of this, Linda and Suzanna never gave up – the result being a truly unforgettable sell-out show, so winning the award was an amazing moment and so fantastic for the charity and the team behind the event to get the recognition they deserved. Also, Matthew Kelly is a true star – he’s a lovely, lovely man and so supportive of the charity.
During the year, we had a four-month period where we were very understaffed. Although this was very challenging at times, it definitely proved how well we work as a team, as we all pulled together with no impact on our fundraising goals. It’s during these moments that I tell myself to take a step back and reflect on our achievements. An added bonus has been ending the year with the knowledge that next year is going to be immense for the charity! We have so much in the pipeline and with such a motivated and passionate team, it’s going to be a very fast-paced but very exciting 2019.