We would like to share with you a bit of background about Birstall BAGS, what we have achieved, events we have organised and our aspirations for the future.
Clare Wells, founder of BAGS was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. Her determination to encourage all women to be vigilant, to self-examine and access medical care as soon as possible inspired the formation of Birstall BAGS, a local fundraising social group.
Clare’s cancer recurred and sadly she died in 2003 but her close friends Rachael Boyall, Helen Carnan, Liz Darlison, Lesley Merry, Jo Preston and Emma Shaw, have carried on with her vision and to date over £60,000 pounds has been donated to local breast cancer services.
Currently the group hold a variety of annual events to bring the community together to have a bit of fun and raise funds. Increasingly local sports clubs, businesses, individual families and members of the community embark on their own fundraising activities to support the charity.
So what are we doing with the money we are raising?
- Currently Birstall BAGS funds local charity, Coping with Cancer in Leicestershire and Rutland to deliver their Time Out group – a drop-in complementary therapy group held at the Wanlip Church and Community Centre, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Free to patients, their family and their carers.
- In the early days we donated £4,000 to the newly built Breast Care Unit at the Glenfield Hospital.
- We have also funded the refurbishment of The Retreat, a comfortable well equipped room on the Breast Care Ward at the Glenfield Hospital. The Retreat initiative has been so successful similar projects are being established throughout the University Hospitals of Leicester.
- We have purchased a much needed bladder scanner for UHL (pictured below)
- We provided £8,500 to provide fixtures and fittings for two rooms in the Cancer Information Centre at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
- We recently donated £12,000 to refurbish various areas in the urology department at Leicester General Hospital.
We continually work in collaboration with local media to raise awareness about cancer. Early diagnosis really does save lives and we want to get that message fully into our community. There is much to be done to get this vision off the ground but the group wholeheartedly believes ‘oak trees grow from acorns’, and anything can be done if you put your mind to it. We will keep you posted about any progress made.