Mum Makes it her Mission to Support Cancer Charity Whilst Battling Breast Cancer
15th October 2015
A family-focused mum of 1 from Chesterfield is looking positively to the future and helping to support cancer patients across the region despite a harrowing ordeal with breast cancer and an uncertain outlook.
Dawn Barker (43) was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in October 2012 after finding a lump in her right breast. Nothing could have prepared Dawn for the months to follow, where she underwent a mastectomy, removal or her lymph nodes, chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy and surgery to remove her Ovaries all in the space of just 1 year. Dawn, who received the majority of her treatment at the regions dedicated cancer hospital, Weston Park Hospital, is now hoping to show her utmost appreciation for the care and support she received throughout her treatment by raising funds for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. Weston Park Hospital is one of only a handful of specialist cancer hospitals in England and treats patients from all over South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and North Derbyshire a population of almost 1.8million people. Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity is the only dedicated charity for the hospital and exists to support the world-class cancer research and to improve the treatment and care for people living with cancer. Dawn said, -I am very aware that without the help of Weston Park Hospital, it is likely that I wouldn't be around today and able to enjoy precious moments with my family. -To say the bottom fell out of my world when I was diagnosed is an understatement and I will be eternally grateful to the wonderful staff who have been a constant reassurance to me throughout this rocky roller-coaster ride. With the strong likelihood that her cancer will return, Dawn underwent a second mastectomy earlier this year to increase her chances of living longer with the disease and prevent it from returning to the same areas. She continued, -I'm not the type of person to let cancer stop me doing the things I love and I'm adamant to enjoy the time that I do have with those that matter the most. -My family have been absolutely incredibly since I was diagnosed, and although I know they are hurting too, they have shown nothing but strength since day 1- I'm incredibly lucky to have such a strong support unit around me. In the last few years, the reality that Dawn's parents could potentially outlive her has motivated the whole family to actively fundraise for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. Through her sister, Donna, Dawn has been involved in 'Flyball'- a form or relay racing for teams of dogs- and held raffles at tournaments, having already raised over £1,000 for the cancer charity. Dawn, who has worked at Autoworld, Chesterfield for 13 years and met her husband Kam there, lives in Barlborough with their 7 year old daughter Honor. Honor, who has played an active part in fundraising to support 'the hospital that is saving mummy's life' now regularly competes at Flyball tournaments and offers a helping hand with the raffles to raise money. -It's a real family effort.' Said Dawn -We've got plans to do more and more for this life-changing hospital and charity, because I know first hand what a difference it makes to people like me facing such difficult circumstances. With a number of fundraising events already under her belt, Dawn is now in the planning stages of organising a Winter2016 Charity Ball to support the cancer charity as well as signing up for the charity's Big Jump skydive day. The charity needs to raise over £1.8 million this year to enable the funding of committed and new projects that will keep patients at the forefront of cancer treatment. Throughout 2015 the charity will fund various projects to enable the continued improvement of Weston Park Hospital; including the expansion of research studies, improving the way cancer treatments are delivered and supporting the ongoing care provisions of patients and their families affected by cancer. In spite of already undergoing numerous surgeries, in the near future Dawn will undergo reconstructive surgery and continue taking oral chemotherapy medication whilst having regular brain, bone and organ scans to monitor any spreading of the cancer. Dawn continued, -It is scary to think what the future could hold and I can't say that it doesn't worry me but my plan is to live each day as it comes and to spend quality time with the people I love- cancer can wait! Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK but thanks to funding of pioneering research and the expansion of clinical trials, almost 2 out of 3 women with breast cancer now survive their disease beyond 20 years. Recently, the cancer charity is proud to have awarded a grant to Dr Spencer Collis at The University of Sheffield to investigate the role of a specific protein (CDK18) and aim to discover its potential role in helping cancer cells to reproduce in some breast cancer patients. It is only by investing in vital research like this that the scientific community's knowledge of breast cancer, along with other cancers, will increase, and the treatment available to patients in the future become much more effective, helping to keep more families together for longer. Community Fundraiser, Lucy King said, -Dawn is a true inspiration- not only has she battled through an extremely difficult few years but she continues to remain positive despite the uncertainty of things to come. -The more money the cancer charity can raise, the more research projects we are able to fund that ultimately give patients like Dawn access to more cutting-edge treatments and hope for the future. -During Breast Cancer Awareness Month it's incredibly important that our supporters recognise the absolutely vital need for donations in the overall fight against cancer by contributing to their local cancer hospital. To support life-changing cancer research at Weston Park Hospital visit www.wphcc.org.uk/research