7 June, 2024

A much-loved and respected colleague was shown how much she’s cared for by her co-workers when they organised a series of Breast Cancer UK´s Wear Something Orange fundraising events.

Pam Mastrantonio, executive director of not-for-profit retirement living group Housing 21, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2023. Her colleagues were devastated by the news and decided to do something to show their support while she underwent treatment. Their search led them to Breast Cancer UK’s Wear Something Orange campaign. This fun campaign meant that they could all show their support and raise money by simply wearing an orange item of clothing.

 ‘Pam’s diagnosis rocked us all’ 

Finance manager at Housing 21, Mark Goodwin said: “We all wanted to do something to show Pam and any other colleagues impacted by breast cancer that we were behind them. Pam’s such a prominent person here that there were lots of people really rocked by the news. “Pam inspired us with her positivity during her treatment, so we wanted to do something positive for her.”

The impact of the team’s efforts was being an event had even taken place. Within days, it became clear that many people working and living at Housing 21 had been affected by breast cancer. This unexpected interest quickly grew to several hundred people taking part across three days during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Orange outfits ranged from floor length orange dresses to comical oversized orange glasses. There was even a pumpkin costume in the mix!

Pam, from the north of England, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment after having an operation to remove the cancer in September last year. 

 ‘I knew I wasn’t alone’ 

She said: “Obviously facing cancer is a frightening time, but seeing everyone pull together was so inspiring. It let me know that I was not alone.” 

Mark added: “Housing 21 is made up of a lot of caring people who wanted to share their support. This was a really accessible and simple way for them to do that.

“I think the orange colour is really good because it’s bright and really visible, so people take notice. It’s great to know that we’ll be helping to reduce the number of people who get cancer and hopefully save lives.” 

The events, held across multiple Housing 21 sites, raised more than £3000 which will be shared between Breast Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, which has supported Pam during her treatment. 

 ‘It’s about educating people’ 

“Her last treatment is mid-January and we’re hoping she’ll get the all-clear after that. She really wants to get back to work!” added Mark, from Telford near Birmingham. 

“In addition to fundraising, we also thought it was really important to spread the message of prevention. Many people weren’t aware that men can get breast cancer, so we shared information on that as well.” 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Over 55,000 women and around 400 men are diagnosed every year. However, approximately a quarter of these cases could be prevented by reducing exposure to risk factors. The money raised will help Breast Cancer UK to research the causes of breast cancer and lower risk for future generations.

There are lots of simple but fun ways you can support breast cancer prevention. Why not organise a Pennies for Prevention event? Simply pick a day, invite your school, college, university, community group, colleagues, or friends to hand in their spare change and make breast cancer prevention a reality. For inspiration, check out some of the ideas on our fundraising page.

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