Helen, my wife of 14 years, passed away on 6th August, 2016 after a seven year battle with cancer. She leaves behind her mother, Lucy and her two boys, Max and Charlie aged 13 and 11 respectively.

I have chosen to support the Breast Cancer Haven in Helen’s memory. Helen used the Breast Cancer Haven extensively following her first cancer diagnosis in 2009.

Breast Cancer Haven was founded by Sara Davenport in 1997. The idea for the charity came following the experience of a close family friend of Sarah’s who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sara was concerned by the lack of emotional support and information available at that time to anyone diagnosed with the disease. Believing that “no-one should have to face breast cancer alone”, Sara sold her art business and put all of her energy into creating Breast Cancer Haven.

Breast Cancer Haven, London opened in February 2000 followed by Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford in January 2004, Breast Cancer Haven, Yorkshire in October 2008, Breast Cancer Haven, Wessex in 2015 and Breast Cancer Haven, Worcester in 2016. Towards the end of 2017 a centre in the West Midlands (Solihull) will be opening. More services are planned across the country in the next ten years.

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening and the treatment gruelling. Surgery, hair loss, radiation, chemotherapy and medication can all take its toll. Medical treatment is necessary but people need so much more than this. This is where Breast Cancer Haven comes in.

Breast Cancer Haven supports women and their families, through this really difficult time. The charity’s specialist nurses run programmes of support, including complementary therapies, exercise classes and counselling to help people cope with the debilitating effects of treatment and the emotional toll of living with the breast cancer.

Trained professional nurses, therapists, counsellors and advisers listen to each person’s individual concerns giving them practical, emotional and physical support through a tailor-made support plan. This could include emotional support, for them and their families, supportive therapies to help combat stress, exhaustion and nausea as well as practical advice on things like healthy eating, exercise, money and work. Above all, there is always someone to talk to about their deepest fears.

Breast Cancer Haven’s support is free of charge and available to anyone affected by breast cancer wherever they are in their medical treatment or wherever they live. The charity’s income in the last financial year was just £2.8m. Friends, relatives and colleagues are going to help me raise £100,000 over the course of the next year to help Breast Cancer Haven in its work.

Donations form Helen’s memorial service raised over £9,600. A concert at the Turk’s Head in St Margarets raised £6,500.

The following events are planned for 2017:

  • a team of 17 will attempt to ride the 105 miles of the South Downs Way in a day on 17th June.
  • a team of 21 will be riding from Barings’ office in Regent Street to the Amsterdam office over two days on 29th and 30th June.
  • Barings will be supporting the Haven with a number of events during the year.
  • Lesley MacDonald will be cycling the Ride London 100 on Sunday 30th July 2017 which starts in Stratford and finishes 100 miles later on The Mall.