In 2003 there was a cancer support group which was facilitated by Jenny Black, local breast care nurse at the time. Most of the members were breast cancer patients but there were also members with leukemia and gynecological cancer. Support groups can sometimes be difficult as the focus can be on coping with an illness and the problems that come with it. Jenny realized that this group needed a positive focus and after seeing the movie “Calendar Girls” she, Chris Thomas and Suzy Watson embarked on a project that would change people’s lives.
Suzy is a well known local photographer who donated her services to photograph the participants and create the calendar. Together with Chris and Jenny she produced a work of art, Brave Hearts, Faces of Love, Courage and Support that sold over 2000 copies. Cancer survivors enjoyed hair and make-up sessions and were treated like stars.
The original aim of the project was to raise money to buy some new wigs for the wig library and to assist with support activities such as bringing speakers to town and providing information to patients. It was hugely successful as a fund raiser – we now have lots of stylish wigs and have been able to do some great support projects. But more importantly the bond that formed between those involved has been invaluable. They now had something in common that was positive and fun. Great friendships were formed and the group as a whole has become quite close and can offer support to members and the newly diagnosed as needed.