Each of the supporters who have met the charity’s £1000 challenge were invited to its unveiling and also given the opportunity to nominate a name to go on the wall at the research unit at the Western General Hospital.
For Eleanor there was no question whose name should be included - her sister’s, Joan Alice Purvis.
Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46, and died eight years later in March 2005. And it was two years into her sister’s battle with the disease that Eleanor first started fundraising for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
“When she was 48 I took up the £1000 challenge and will continue with it for as long as I’m able,” said Eleanor, who has also seen it affect her granny and an aunt.
“You don’t know what the future is going to bring. And it’s not only women who get breast cancer men to do - but we are winning.
“What I like is that every time we give money they tell me what the money is being used for and the Edinburgh Western General have some of the leading people in breast cancer research in the world.”
Eleanor organises two coffee mornings a year, friends have held charity dinners and others compile quizzes - and between them and the many generous people who have supported the events, the area is doing its bit to try and ensure that the future is brighter for those who are unfortunate enough to be touched by the disease.
“I may be the spearhead but I must stress that it’s the help of family and friends in Berwickshire and Northumberland that have helped raise so much,” said Eleanor.
“I have a core of helpers, who are mostly friends and family and ex customers from my days in the paper shop.
“Every penny raised goes to the charity, there are no expenses paid out to cover the costs of the events.”
Pamela Newby, fundraiser for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in Scotland, was delighted to receive the cheque from Eleanor, and said: “We are so grateful for Eleanor’s support over the years, and everyone in the local area who kindly contributed. The fantastic amount of money she has raised will help us to continue to fund our vital work at Breakthrough’s research unit in Edinburgh, leading the fight against the disease.”
At the unveiling of the ‘Supporters Wall’ Eleanor was one of 80 fundraisers who heard Audrey Birt, director for Scotland and Professor Mike Dixon, breast surgeon and clinical lead of the research unit, talk about the progress Breakthrough has made in Scotland and the huge role played by supporters in their fundraising efforts. They were also able to see first hand how their donations are being put to use with a tour of the research unit.
It was also an opportunity for the Breakthrough team to say a huge thank you to everyone in person.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer funds ground-breaking research, campaigns for better services and treatments and raises awareness of breast cancer, believing that breast cancer can be beaten and the fear of the disease removed for good.
“We depend entirely on donations from the public to fund our work, which is why fundraising activities like these are so important to allow us to continue our life-saving work,” added Pamela.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer opened Scotland’s only dedicated breast cancer research unit in partnership with the University of Edinburgh in 2008 and the team, led by by director David Harrison (professor of pathology) and Professor Dixon, is investigating how some cancers become resistant to hormone therapy, and developing new treatments that can overcome this problem.
Breakthrough scientists have also done much of the groundbreaking work leading to the UK’s first dedicated breast cancer research centre in London carrying out clinical drugs trials.
For more information on Breakthrough Breast Cancer contact 0131 226 0761 or email [email protected]