Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer - Hug-In-A-Bag Campaign
Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer are a local charity and have recently taken an office at Basepoint Bromsgrove. Please read below to find out more about the amazing things that LFBC have been doing and their latest campaign Hug In A Bag for ladies going through treatment.
Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer (LFBC) is a registered charity, in its 21st year, providing personal, emotional and practical support to women with or recovering from breast cancer. The charity was established in 2000 by Veronica Kumeta and the late Sue Macmaster, after their friend Carol Knaggs was diagnosed with breast cancer. Carol sadly lost her battle, as did Sue when she was later diagnosed with breast cancer. Their legacy lives on through the outreach, fundraising and community care provided by LFBC to hundreds of women across the West Midlands and beyond.
LFBC provides a breadth of practical, emotional and physical support including a bursary providing micro-grants to women facing financial hardship, match-funding for real hair wigs and nipple and / or eyebrow tattooing, a Well Woman choir and a closed Facebook group called BreastMates Central, which has more than 300 active members, caring, sharing and supporting each other through their breast cancer fights.
During the pandemic, Veronica was acutely aware of the impacts that forced isolation may be having on women receiving the devastating breast cancer diagnosis; government restrictions would impact on diagnosis and treatment, and they would also force women to attend chemotherapy and radiotherapy appointments alone.
Veronica had already been working on a concept called Hug-In-A-Bag, prior to the lockdowns; she had canvassed opinions from women within the support group and choir to ask which items they wished they had taken with them to attend their first chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments.
The women suggested ‘common-sense’ items such as tissues, a bottle of water and a good book; they also shared less ‘obvious’ items including a fleece blanket as the treatments can impact body temperature dramatically, and nail varnish to hide the discolouration that these aggressive treatments can trigger.
At the height of restrictions in 2020, Veronica and her team applied for funding and used these insights to create the Hug-In-A-Bag campaign; initially they only supplied bags direct to women who had either nominated themselves or who had been referred by a friend or loved one.
After the first month, it became very clear that there was a real and urgent need for these bags; not just from a practical viewpoint but also because they were literally providing a level of comfort and a virtual hug to the women receiving them... hugely impactful especially as the Breast care Nurses were unable to provide that physical, tactile support due to restrictions.
Veronica was determined to ensure that as many women as possible received this virtual hug, so she set about promoting the campaign to her contacts at Queen Elizabeth hospital and beyond. She wanted to provide stocks of the bags direct to hospital, so that the nurses would be able to give the bags direct to women, regardless of whether they had heard of or engaged with LFBC.
Fast forward six months and more than 400 bags, and sadly, the need continues to grow; so far Veronica has on-boarded six hospitals across the West Midlands. And she’s not finished yet.
The team continues to bid for funding to cover the £35 unit cost of each bag, through large funders, as well as donations. As long as they can raise the funds, the team is determined to provide this practical support and virtual hug to as many of the thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer every year, across the West Midlands.
You can find out more about LFBC by visiting their website.