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Mum and son Wing Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

L-R: Di Barnett, Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford Centre Manager with her son Lee Barnett

On Wednesday 2 October, Di and Lee Barnett will bravely strap themselves to a Boeing-Stearman biplane to help both raise awareness of breast cancer, and vital funds for Breast Cancer Haven.

Leading by example, Di is the manager of Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford. The centre is open to anyone affected by breast cancer and last year alone saw 360 visitors with 2,300 hours of counselling, therapies and classes, provided by the centre’s experts and therapists. Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford receives no government funding therefore relies on the generosity of the community to fundraise for its services.

For Di, who has 8 years’ experience as a breast cancer nurse at Hereford Hospital, the wing walk is especially challenging. She is terrified of heights. She is able to put things into perspective, however.

”My fears and worries will be short lived,” says Di, who has been manager of Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford for two years.

She continues: “In my job, I see so many bold, courageous and stoical women who face fears and worries on a daily basis. Only the other day I was with a lady whose cancer had returned and she shared with me how her life has changed and how she cries every morning. She has lost the use of her left hand and finds routine tasks such as washing her hair, getting dressed and cutting food a struggle. This is just one story and every woman faces their own struggles both physically and emotionally.”

The cause is deeply personal for both Di and Lee. Di’s mother, Lee’s grandmother, sadly lost her life to breast cancer while Lee’s aunt has also been diagnosed with the disease.

“Having lost my mum to breast cancer I want to ensure ladies receive all the help they possibly can,” says Di.

Lee adds: “Breast Cancer Haven was not around when my grandmother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Had the centre existed then I know this would have helped her enormously. My auntie was also diagnosed with breast cancer so this is a very personal challenge.”

Breast Cancer Haven provides a tailored package of emotional, physical and practical support – including counselling and complementary therapies – to help manage the side effects of hospital treatment. Physical side effects include fatigue, nausea, joint aches and pains, while psychologically it can effect family relationships and lead to anxiety and depression.

Di says: “All too often I have heard from women suffering from hair loss, a mastectomy or weight gain, ‘When I look in the mirror I don’t recognise myself’. For me it is about supporting these women find a quality of life again.”

Di Emmett and her team of Wing Walkers have set their sights high with a target of £10,000. If you would like to sponsor Di then please visit her fundraising page:
www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk/fundraisers/di-wing-walk.

For more information about the Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford Wing Walk please contact Rachael Manacchini-Godfrey on 01432 361055. If you are interested in fundraising for Breast Cancer Haven, Hereford please email: herefordfundraising@breastcancerhaven.org.uk.