Back in early 2017, Leonie Heard started Breast Friends Northampton after being diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2016. She had wanted support to help her deal with the diagnosis and impending treatment. Leonie found breast cancer peer support online, but nothing locally face to face. After realising some of the online members lived close by, she organised a local meet-up. Instantly the women were able to open up, empathise, laugh and share their experiences of diagnosis, treatment and their hopes and fears for their futures.
They joked about how one day they would start a local coffee morning for people affected by breast cancer in Northampton. Just six months after that discussion and with the support of Macmillan, the group met for the first time on Wednesday, June 7th at the Dapper Sandwich Company on Wellingborough Road for two hours. They have continued to meet on the first Wednesday of every month ever since. Now 200 strong, the support group has developed past monthly meetings including; additional monthly coffee mornings, wellness walks, wellbeing events, pilates, art therapy and practical support.
With statistics showing that one in eight women will suffer from breast cancer in their lifetime, Breast Friends Northamptonshire believe that no person should go through diagnosis, treatment and post-recovery alone.