Last weekend I organised a get together for members of the Younger Breast Cancer Network (UK) in town. We had lunch and tea then drinks (though being old and boring I wimped out before drinks). There aren’t rally enough adjectives to describe the afternoon but it’s worth a shot.
First, though, I ought to say a bit about the YBCN. it’s a Facebook group for ladies under 45 with BC. You can’t just join – you have to be admitted. It keeps the trolls out. It was set up by some girls in Manchester who met at a charity event for younger BC sufferers in early 2013 then quickly mushroomed. Today there are almost 1000 members on the main group, with various sub groups also in existence for such topics as secondary BC, moving on and so on. I am constantly amazed by what seems to be the steady daily trickle of new members. Let no one say that BC is an old women’s disease.
The group is great for so many reasons – mutual support, information sharing, humour that others wouldn’t understand, practical advice, recommendations and so on. Friendships are formed online in a safe way and women all over the country can feel they are with others who just get it. I have huge respect for the ladies who set it up and administer it and who spend a great deal of time on it and on getting the message out there that young women get BC and that they have their own particular issues.
So the meet up. Being the organiser I am I couldn’t help but volunteer to set it up when someone on the group set a date but no one stepped forward to do the grunt work. It wasn’t hard to arrange and, armed with a spreadsheet and iPhone, I was well equipped to deal with the admin. We met in Central London – around 40 women, many of whom had travelled from other parts of the UK to get here. All I had to do was jump on the Tube, so a bit lightweight really.
And now for the adjectives. Heartwarming. Inspiring. Supportive. Fun. Emotional. Encouraging. Delightful. Honest. Funny. Brilliant. Barriers were broken down. Friendships made on line were affirmed. We talked about boobs (of course!), wigs, make up, work, kids, family, cancer, implants, dying, holidays, fashion, cake, booze. With total strangers. What lovely ladies. What amazing ladies. What brilliant ladies. Thank you all. For coming. For being there. For understanding. For everything.