Cal joins BooBee’s Big Campaign
‘The hardest thing was telling my daughter’
Cal Ingram was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 53. Since her diagnosis, she has been a massive supporter of Prevent Breast Cancer by regularly donating the proceeds from her arts and crafts business – Handmade Tales.
Now, she has took her support one step further, and is throwing all her weight behind BooBee’s Big Campaign and has signed up as a BooBee Ambassador. The BooBees are 100 women, who have been affected by breast cancer, who are joining together to spread awareness and fundraise for a future without breast cancer.
All our BooBees are raring to go and would love for you to join them for their flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam – a high-octane evening of emotion, inspiration and FUN at Manchester Central on November 19th.
Cal has very kindly shared her breast cancer journey with us and explained why she has joined this vitally important campaign in support of Prevent Breast Cancer.
Cal, could you share with us a summary of your experience with breast cancer?
I had my first mammogram when I was 50 and that was clear. Three years later in late 2015 I had my next one and that wasn’t clear, as there was cancer in milk ducts. I was booked in for a mastectomy within a few weeks. I opted for reconstruction at that time but three days later the implant had to be taken out and replaced. Fortunately, I didn’t need to have radiotherapy or chemotherapy. My elderly mother was also battling breast cancer at the time. That was tough, and she sadly died with secondary breast cancer in 2017. Following my reconstruction, I have had two further operations, including another implant and then having that removed in 2019 to have fat from my stomach pumped into the breast instead. This has been OK. I am incredibly grateful to all the team at the Nightingale, and this is why I fundraise.
How did you feel when you were first diagnosed?
Very shocked to be fair because all the way from being called back for a second mammogram to having biopsies, I felt it was happening to someone else. The hardest thing was telling my daughter. Her father died very suddenly just as she was starting her second year at university in Nov 2012. He was just 52. She dropped off her course and we had a lot of mending to do. She started a new course and was just starting her second year, when I was diagnosed in October 2015. It was very traumatic. I suppose I coped by looking out for everyone else rather than dwelling on what was happening to me.
Has your outlook on life changed since you were diagnosed?
I think I am a lot more chilled and don’t stress the small stuff!
Do you have any advice for someone newly diagnosed?
Do what you think is right for you. If talking to someone works for you, then do it. Don’t feel obliged or feel pressured to something as all our paths are different. I certainly didn’t want to talk to anyone although there were many offers. Always remember though you are not alone and when you are ready to reach out there will be someone there for you.
What are you most looking forward to as a BooBee Ambassador?
Having fun and helping others to be aware. I want to help fundraise to support research that will save future generations. It’s also a sense of giving back and I’m very much looking forward to meeting new people.
Could you tell us more about Handmade Tales?
After my 4th operation in early 2018, my left side was very sore and to carry a bag on my right side tugged on my left. I then decided to make a really light bag out of some fabric I had at home. People commented on it and said they liked it, and so during my recovery I decided to start making bags and donate the proceeds to Prevent Breast Cancer. I managed to get a stall on our local market which is once a month and I sold lots at my place of work until Covid hit. The style of bags is decided by the fabric I have, and I try to recycle as much as I can from old curtains, jeans etc
I have regular customers and I have lots of people who come to talk to me about their wives they have lost, their daughters who are going through treatment, or their own personal stories and journeys. I not only make bags to sell and donate, but I also do bunting, broaches and anything that can begin with a B for breast!
Making ‘stuff’ is part of my recovery and Handmade Tales has saved me.
Thank you so much to Cal for sharing her journey to being a BooBee Ambassador with us.
BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam
Tickets are on sale for the flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam – an evening of bingo and entertainment with an ’80s twist! The night will also include a special catwalk by our BooBees. Show your support by inviting your friends and family and joining us for a party like no other, at an award-winning venue in the heart of Manchester.
BooBee’s Big Campaign
As part of BooBee’s Big Campaign, our BooBees will be spreading awareness by taking to the streets of Manchester in November on a huge bright pink bus. Make sure you keep an eye on our social media to hear where we will be visiting. In the meantime, be sure to book your tickets for the flagship fundraising event – BooBee presents Bingo Bedlam.