WHATEVER you think of the amazing news that the Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal has hit the £3m mark – the team at the Wellingborough-based charity insist that the charity is all about people, not money.
Having devoted itself to raising money to help fund medical equipment and resources, Crazy Hats continues to have a dream of establishing a dedicated purpose-built support centre in Northamptonshire that anyone with, or affected by breast cancer, can benefit from.
Since it was founded 17 years ago by ex-headteacher Glennis Hooper - as she neared the end of her own treatment for the disease - the charity has focused on spending the money it raises on facilities and equipment at the county’s two general hospitals, Kettering General and Northampton General. In the early days funds were also donated to Leicester Royal Infirmary where patients went to undergo breast reconstruction. Trustees at Crazy Hats work closely with all relevant departments and medical personnel to discuss current and future projects.
Recently, the charity purchased a holiday home in Norfolk to offer respite to breast cancer patients, giving them time away from the trauma of hospital appointments and treatments.
Now, the focus is on finding, or building, a centre in Northamptonshire to provide patients with everything from help and advice, more support group sessions, complimentary therapies, craft sessions and, more importantly, more space and time.
Glennis said: “We have been in our rented premises for over 11 years but, with more and more patients needing our services, we simply don’t have enough room. Often, we get people coming in who are in a terrible state; maybe they, or a loved one, have just been diagnosed or have been told other bad news and they need somewhere private to sit and talk about what they are going through. It concerns me, and frustrates me, that we cannot provide the kind of service they need – and deserve.
“When someone is diagnosed with cancer it can be devastating. If we can be there to talk to them, help them get the information they need and introduce them to others in a similar position, then that is what we are here for.
“If we could find somewhere positioned in a pleasant environment (not in the middle of a busy industrial estate), with plenty of space for all the different groups and activities we try to offer, it would be amazing. I cannot emphasise enough how much such a dedicated centre is needed. I am confident we will get there; I won’t stop until we do. But, along the way, we are going to need a lot of help and stroke of luck. ”
Over the years, hundreds of local companies have supported the Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal through organising one-off events, choosing it as their Charity of the Year, or by supporting and attending the many events Crazy Hats organise themselves, such as their annual Walk that takes place in Wicksteed Park – the charity’s biggest fundraiser.
Such support has now added up to £3m, a total that was reached late last year when Warren Brown, 2017 men’s captain of Rushden Golf Club, had the honour of tipping the total over the landmark amount when he presented a cheque for £4,000 from his year’s fundraising campaign.
He was the third club captain in three years to have Crazy Hats as their nominated charity and his donation was added to those of 2015 captain, Dave Chisholm, and 2016 captain, Michael Stephens. Between them the trio raised over £9,000.
Those funds are just a small part of the thousands that come in every year thanks to the generosity of people across the county – as the photographs opposite show.
Glennis said: “We were always determined to raise money for the people of this county and we are so proud of everything we have achieved so far. We have such a wonderful, dedicated team of volunteers and helpers who all work so hard. Hopefully, we will continue to receive this level of support from the community so that we can further support more people long into the future. If Crazy Hats is able to secure the centre it so desperately needs, it will be a lasting legacy for the charity and a unique facility for the people of Northamptonshire; a facility that everyone can feel proud of, knowing they have contributed to it and knowing that one day they, or someone close to them, may possibly need.”
Anyone who can help the Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal in any way, or who would like to know more about the help and support the charity offers should contact 01933 442999.