‘After the dark comes the light’

Lorraine Hathorn is fundraising with Eltham MP Clive Efford

Cancer survivor Lorraine is now an avid fundraiser to fight the disease

A woman, who heard the news that so many dread, that they have breast cancer is today working hard to raise public awareness of the disease.

“This is just the beginning,” said Lorraine Hathorn who, in March 2015, was told she had the disease. Less than two years later, Lorraine has raised more than £20,000 for charity and become an avid campaigner, determined to spread awareness of the disease and the importance of early diagnoses.

The 52 year-old from Eltham explained why she started fundraising: “After the amazing care I received during my treatment I knew I wanted to give something back.” And that is exactly what she has done.

Just four months after her treatment – which included surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, Lorraine was out on the streets of South-east London collecting donations for the charity, Breast Cancer Care.

On a cold March day, dressed in a bright pink wig and with the support of close family and friends who have now affectionately become know as her Pink Team, Lorraine raised more than £1,300 for charity.

She said: “I knew it was just the beginning. It was a freezing cold day and exhausting shaking those buckets for six hours but the warmth and love from everyone’s heart kept us going.” After that, Lorraine became the group fundraising leader for Breast Cancer Care in Bromley and the South East.

She gained the support of the Halifax bank in Eltham and Bromley, whose branches act as regular venues for Lorraine’s fundraising events and ‘pink days.’

Since she began her fundraising, her army of supporters has grown and she has been bowled over by the support friends, family and even strangers who have donated goods and money to her cause. But for Lorraine, it is not just about fundraising, increasing awareness about the importance of self-checking, encouraging conversations and campaigning for better treatment of secondary breast cancer is equally important.

When she was diagnosed, at 48 years-old, Lorraine was not within the age bracket of women who are offered regular mammograms, which are usually recommended to women from the age of 50. “I found my lump through self-examination, and for me it’s all about getting out in the community and getting people breast aware.

“It could have been a very different story for me if I had not been checking. “I know I’ve got the awareness out there.” Balancing fundraising activities with her full-time job as a ICT SOX analyst means Lorraine is a busy woman but she also finds time to speak at events about her experience of cancer.

“From the day I was diagnosed it was there and breast cancer is still with me now, my body has changed, there are scars to remind me everyday and there are long-term side effects of the treatment too, but moving forward you have to accept the new you.

“The emotion will be with me forever but every day I feel that emotion, then that means I’m surviving. “I’ve had the brothers, husbands, friends of people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer come up to me. It’s not just you that goes through cancer, all of your loved ones go through it with you and I am sure they have questions too.”

“Being a volunteer community fundraiser is hugely rewarding. “I am able to show my family, friends and community that after ‘the rain comes the sun and after the dark comes the light.”