A former cancer patient and mum-of-three is urging her fellow South Londoners to get involved in Macmillan Cancer Support’s famous Coffee Morning this year, after the charity revealed sign-ups to its biggest annual fundraiser were down 76 per cent across the capital.
Sharon-Ann Gayle, 56, from Croydon, was supported by Macmillan during her cancer treatment – both by her Macmillan nurse and by a specialist psychological support service, which Macmillan funded at St George’s Hospital.
In 2015, the mum-of-three was simultaneously diagnosed with myeloma (a cancer that develops from plasma cells) and amyloidosis (a rare and serious non-cancerous condition caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein).
Clinical professionals gave Sharon-Ann just months to live, but having been in remission since 2016, she now wants to give back to the charity that was there for her during some of her most challenging times.
Sharon-Ann said: “I don’t know what I would have done without my Macmillan nurse, Jo.
“She was there with me in the room when I finally found out I had a rare myeloma cancer.
“Jo was instrumental in helping me at that terrible time. I then spent six weeks in hospital and was laid off from work.
“Macmillan helped me throughout this time – particularly when I lost my job, as they advised me about my finances and helped me complete all the forms.
“The Psychological Support Service at St George’s, which is funded by Macmillan, also made a huge difference.
“That’s why I’m so pleased to be taking part in a Coffee Morning this month, in the park, after me and my friends from the Macmillan Move More group have enjoyed our specialist exercise session.
“It just shows you can be creative where you have a Macmillan Coffee Morning this year.”
Last year, Londoners signed-up for more than 16,000 Macmillan Coffee Morning events to fund the cancer charity’s vital services such as Macmillan nurses and patient grants.
In 2019, a massive £890,000 was raised at fundraisers across South London, thanks to the generosity of local residents.
But this year, figures show the number of people planning to hold a Coffee Morning across South London have fallen by 73 per cent, leading to the charity worrying there will be an equivalent fall in money raised.
Macmillan is encouraging people to take part however suits them, from having a socially distanced Coffee Morning safely from their doorstep to setting up a virtual Coffee Morning online.
Those who prefer to take part in more active fundraising events can also sign up for the first ever Coffee Morning Challenge, tackling a run, walk or cycle to raise cash.
Meanwhile social media lovers are being urging people to take a selfie raising a mug for people living with cancer, while making a donation.
To sign-up, or to find out more about Macmillan Coffee Morning, click here or call: 0330 102 7810.
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