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Sharon is PCRF’s very own ‘calendar girl’

Sharon is PCRF’s very own ‘calendar girl’

11 November 2012

The ways in which our supporters raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund are many and varied, but this is a new one on us!

Sharon Healey and 11 of her friends and colleagues from Teesside launched their sports-themed calendar, ‘A Question of Support’, at their PCRF fundraising event at Middlesbrough FC’s ground on Saturday 10 November. The twist? The guests had expected a charity auction, raffle, DJ and singer, but none of them knew about the calendar – or that the 12 women involved were pictured dressed only in their underwear, with their modesty concealed by items of sporting equipment!

PCRF supporter Sharon is, poignantly, Miss March – a month which this year should have been full of celebrations: Sharon’s 50th birthday, her son Christopher’s 21st birthday and husband Kevin’s 54th birthday. Instead, it was the month in which Kevin was diagnosed with and died of pancreatic cancer.

The couple, who had been together for almost 15 years, planned to marry in November 2012 in Jamaica – a place that they both loved. When Kevin and Sharon were told on 1 March that he had between six and twelve months to live, they decided to bring the wedding forward to April in England. However, events overtook them as on 24 March – Kevin’s birthday – his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital where Sharon received the devastating news that Kevin had only a few days left. “I broke the news to Kevin myself,” says Sharon. “He never once said that he was frightened or complained – he was more concerned about me, which sums up the man that he was.” Their sons travelled to join them – Sharon’s son, Christopher, returned from Plymouth and Kevin’s son, Graham, from France - and the long-planned wedding ceremony took place in the hospital on Sunday 25 March.

It was Kevin’s wish to come home for his last days so he left hospital on Monday 26 March and passed away two days later. 

“March will always be a momentous month for me, more especially now,” says Sharon. “Despite all the birthdays and our wedding anniversary, it’s now irrevocably associated with Kevin’s diagnosis and death and the fact that he’s not here to celebrate with us.”

The calendar launch, fittingly taking place during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, raised over £7,000, split between PCRF and an ovarian cancer charity. “It was a fabulous evening and one that Kevin would have loved,” says Sharon. “The calendar was a big surprise to everyone, causing lots of hilarity as well as raising lots of money. The 12 of us who took part are just ordinary women, all shapes, sizes and ages, but we wanted to get the message across about these two silent killers. Everyone really pulled together to support this project which was made possible by donations from all sorts of businesses across the country from Middlesbrough to Worcester and Sevenoaks.”

This was Sharon’s second PCRF fundraising event: a group of 30 family members walked 21 miles of the Cleveland Way on one day in October. “It’s so important to fund research into this disease,” says Sharon. “For Kevin it was too late to help him when the diagnosis was received, so if we can help to find a way of diagnosing pancreatic cancer earlier, it would help lots of other families.”

The calendar is available to buy for £10 and Sharon and her fellow calendar girls hope to raise £15,000. Calendars can be purchased from: www.aquestionofsupport.co.uk

 

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