Barnham Broom mum has raised �65k for cancer charity

A mother of two and her friends have raised more than �65,000 to fight breast cancer – and she's now acting as an ambassador for the charity she has supported.

Sarah Softley, 45, from Barnham Broom, has not been directly affected by the disease, but three of the people closest to her in her life have all survived breast cancer.

Her grandmother Sheila Hughes beat the disease before she died a few years ago, and the woman she calls her 'second mum', who befriended her when she moved to Norfolk nearly half a century ago from Surrey, Ann Graham, also beat it.

Her school friend from Surrey, whom she did not wish to name, had breast cancer when she was only about 21, but she survived.

Each in their own way touched Mrs Softley deeply, and eight years ago she decided to hold a Think Pink charity ball biannually to fundraise for cancer charities.

The four events she has held since then have raised more than �65,000 and this year's event, held at Colney Hall, near Norwich, was attended by more than 370 people last month.

Mrs Softley, who runs her own events management company, Softley Events, based at Mattishall, said: 'Before I started holding these charity balls, I had raised money for charities before, and for my children's schools and other schools.

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'But each one of my friends getting cancer hit me hard, and made me realise how lucky I was. I just wanted to give something back really.

'I talked to friends who said they wanted to do something as well, and we got together to hold these charity balls.

'Most of the money we have raised has been for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, whom I am now an ambassador for. I think every company should do something for charity.

'By campaigning we don't just raise money, we also get people to do checks on themselves. If breast cancer is diagnosed early, people do survive it.

'And men also get breast cancer, which is something to remember.'

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organised by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and cure.

The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

As well as providing a platform for breast cancer charities to raise awareness of their work, the month is also a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection.

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Have you got a story to tell about overcoming breast cancer? Call health correspondent Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email