Mattishall mums raise cash to fight breast cancer

A Mattishall pre-school was decked out in pink to help raise cash for research into breast cancer.Nursery owner Debbie Trewhella and pre-school supervisor Brenda Varley joined forces to hold the event - both have fought battles with breast cancer.

When nursery owner Debbie Trewhella was fighting breast cancer one of the biggest boosts to her recovery was seeing the happy, smiling faces of the children in her care.

Getting back to work after the trauma of being diagnosed and having to go through a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery was a saving grace for the owner of Rocking Horse day nursery in Mattishall, near Dereham.

'I found it quite difficult and upsetting to talk to people about it in the early days but it was lovely coming back to work because the children don't treat you any differently and you can almost forget about it,' she said.

So when the opportunity to support cancer charities arose she jumped at the chance and joined forces with Mattishall pre-school, whose supervisor Brenda Varney had also fought her own battle with the disease.

So in the spirit of Wear It Pink, the fundraising campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month, the nursery was decked out in pink from top to toe.

There was pink finger painting, pink milk and pink playdough for the children and plenty of pink outfits as well as some fundraising activities for parents and a collection tin for donations.

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But the event, on Thursday was more about raising awareness of breast cancer with Mrs Trewhella and Mrs Varney as living proof that it can be beaten.

Mrs Trewhella was diagnosed two years ago after finding a lump in her breast. She was 48 years old.

'People said it would be OK and probably nothing but it is a shock to be told you have breast cancer,' she said. 'I had to have a mastectomy because of the size of the lump. That was the best option for me and luckily I did not have to have any lymph nodes removed. Unfortunately the operation was on my 30th wedding anniversary.'

Although she did not have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy Mrs Trewhella had immediate reconstructive surgery and will have to take the drug Tamoxifen for five years.

Mrs Varney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 at the age of 50. She had the lump removed but also had to have some lymph glands taken out from which she developed lymphodemia, causing her arm to swell up. Her treatment included radiotherapy and a course of Tamoxifen but four years ago she developed cancer of the womb and had to have a full hysterectomy.

'I have had about six operations but the care I received was really good but the best counselling you can get is being with children,' she said. 'They don't dwell on things and you have to put a smile on your face for them which is good for you.'

The official Breast Cancer Campaign Wear It Pink day is tomorrow .