Breast cancer charity events – you don’t have to run a marathon to get involved

With so many ways to get involved in breast cancer charity events – you’re bound to find one that works for you

Many women want to give something back to the charities or organisations that helped them after diagnosis, which is why breast cancer charity events are so well supported. The idea really took off in the early 1990s, when the now-iconic pink ribbon came to symbolise a worldwide mission to raise awareness of breast cancer.


Since then, millions of pounds have been raised around the world by – among others – The Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, and the Pink Ribbon Foundation. The donations directly benefit charities seeking to help women affected by breast cancer and those focused on finding a cure for the disease.


Today, charities like Breast Cancer Awareness, Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK rely for much of their funding on the money raised by supporters through breast cancer charity events. And thanks to their inventiveness there’s really no excuse to duck out of giving back.


Enterprising charities like these know that women – and men too – need to be inspired if they’re going to raise money for a good cause, which led to the creation of events like Macmillan’s coffee mornings (because not everyone wants to run marathons or cycle the length of the country).


People raise money in a myriad of ways these days and, in addition to coffee mornings, breast cancer charity events include cake sales, tea parties, golf days, black-tie balls, people being sponsored to have their heads shaved, pink days at the office, quiz nights, car wash days and yard sales. Organising a breast cancer charity event is easy, too, with charities providing handy step-by-step ‘how to’ guides.


Walk the walk
The ability to laugh at ourselves is integral to the British character, and sometimes the best way to catch our imagination is to appeal to our sense of the ridiculous. Perhaps that’s why the MoonWalk has been such a successful breast cancer charity event. Not only do you get to parade around in your (outrageously embellished) undies all night long, but you’re doing it for a good cause too.


It all began when a lady called Nina Barough had the idea of power walking the New York City marathon in a decorated bra to raise money for a good cause. In November 1996 she and 12 other courageous women took to the streets of New York in their bras and raised over £25,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now part of Breast Cancer Now), which contributed to the first dedicated centre for research into the disease.


In 1997, following a discovery by Nina that she herself had breast cancer and would have to undergo aggressive treatment, several of her friends put together a team to power walk the London Marathon. By 1998 there were many more supporters wanting to walk, but not all could gain places, so Nina created a walking marathon for these ladies that would set off at midnight on the eve of the London Marathon and walk through the night, completing their marathon by 7am on the Sunday morning and passing on the baton to their colleagues who would be walking the official event. Thus, the MoonWalk was born.


To date, Walk the Walk, the organisation that runs the MoonWalk, has raised in excess of £100 million through its breast cancer charity walking events around the world – always characterised by the outrageously decorated bras sported by participants.


Celebrity status
Publicity is a key element in any fund-raising campaign, and some charities like London-based Future Dreams are lucky enough to have the kind of high-profile supporters that guarantee media coverage. Their charity events tend to be the glittering kind, including cinema previews, boxing nights, fashion shows and ladies’ lunches – all of which raise millions of pounds for cancer research, and to help create a new London centre for complementary support charity Breast Cancer Haven.


Amoena helps raise funds for Future Dreams through its collaboration with the A-listers’ favourite swimwear designer, Melissa Odabash. For the past three years, Odabash has designed a capsule collection for Amoena, and the charity receives a donation for every item sold. Celebrities like Sky News presenter Jacquie Beltrao and Vera Ora – both of whom have had breast cancer – have modelled the swimwear and agreed to act as ambassadors for the charity.


So whether you choose to challenge yourself to give up something, or to walk, wear, eat, talk, party, network or socialise to raise funds, there is bound to be a breast cancer charity event somewhere that should appeal to you. And if by some slim chance you can’t find one – just start your own.