Equip Yourself For Success: Hats, Apps and Friends!

We’ve got all the tips and trick you need to succeed in your next Fun Run!

Train smart

The internet is your tool. It doesn’t matter what distance you’re planning on running; in order for you to go the distance you need to prepare properly. There are loads of great tools online that you can use to help get you into shape for your race including apps, guides and blogs.

Our best recommendations for beginners is the NHS’ Couch to to 5k Podcast. This is perfect for those of you who have never ran properly before. Using simple instructions provided via a downloadable mp3 file you’re instructed to run, jog and walk in intervals. The intensity of each session is increased over time allowing you to ease your way into running a non-stop 5k and even go further at a later date.

Invest in good gear

As much as a poor workman shouldn’t blame their tools, it’s true with running that the kind of equipment you use can negatively impact your performance. Running is a sport that can have some serious physical effects on your body, especially if you don’t train properly, or if you choose to skimp out on the right equipment.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive to spend money on doing a fun run for charity, it’ll be better for your health in the long run if you invest in good gear now. You can save money by buying Adidas wholesale gear online or shopping for clearance items at warehouse shops. It’s also important to wear the right clothes for the weather. It doesn’t matter how hot you might think you’ll get when you start running, if it’s cold outside pull on a pom pom hat and a pair of warm gloves!

Run with a friend

If you’re new to exercise and are finding it difficult to get motivated to go out running by yourself then consider finding a friend or family member to run with you!

Running with someone else has been proven to improve performance, that’s why athletes train in teams!

It doesn’t matter if you’re at different skill levels or if your goals are different, as long as you can both get each other out of the house and run at a comfortable pace together then it’s worth having a training partner. Once you start to get a little competitively minded, you’ll be able to spur each other on even more.

Go at your own pace

It’s crucial to start your preparation as early as possible so that you can give yourself as much time as possible to scale up your training. When it comes to the race day you’ll want to run faster and it’s key that your body is prepared for this increase of intensity. The earlier you start your training the longer you can take to scale up your distance and speed, but it’s important to make notes of how you feel after each run so that you understand how your fitness is progressing.

Use a running app

Technology is on your side, now more than ever! There are so many different apps to help you track your progress that it might be hard to pick one. Our top recommendation, if you’re looking for a fun social way of tracking your runs is Strava.

Essentially the Facebook of the fitness world, this app allows you to track your runs (swims and cycles as well!) so that you can see where you’re going and how fast you’re going. The app tracks more than just times, it’ll gauge your pace, present you with graphs to show how fast you go over time and will also compare your times with other people – best of all it’s absolutely free!

Simple, Effective Fundraising Ideas

Raising money for a Breast Cancer charity can be a great way to support a friend who has recently been diagnosed.

Breast cancer can be a heavy burden to carry for a lot of people, with many people feeling isolated or depressed after they’ve been diagnosed with the condition.

During these tough times, a single act of kindness or support can often prove to be the turning point in someone’s recovery. You should never underestimate the impact that your support can have on your friend or colleague’s recovery. There are all sorts of actions that you can take to let them know that they have your support. It could be as simple as giving them a hug, taking them out for a coffee or just taking time to ask them how they are – sometimes the most routine of gestures can make all the difference.

Should you wish to take your support one step further then you could consider organising a fundraising activity or event that will raise money for a relevant charity. If you choose to do this, it’s best to be as open about it as possible. Although it might be tempting to keep your efforts as a surprise for your friend, you might want to avoid making them feel like you’re taking pity on them. Instead, talk to them about organising or doing something together, so that they can feel involved and engaged.

Here are a few ideas of fundraising activities that you can do with a friend who is receiving cancer treatment:

Organise a bake sale

Although your friend might be feeling as burnt out as a broken Belling oven element, that shouldn’t stop you from taking the lead in organising a bake sale.

You can either look to see if there’s a coffee morning happening locally that you can sell cakes at, or organise one of your own either at work or your local community centre. Get talking to your colleagues and make sure there’s enough cake to go round – you can then donate all the proceeds towards a charity of your choice.

Run a sponsored race

Despite cancer treatment often having a serious impact on an individual’s physical fitness, it’s still a good idea for patients to get out and about. Find a short-distance race (5 kilometres is a good distance to start with) and see if your friend is interested in running it with you.

If the challenge is a bit too much for them you can still use it as an excuse to go out for a walk with them. Start a Just Giving page to raise some money for a cause and share it on social media to reach as many people as possible.

Organise a big event

If you’ve got the time to spare, organising a ticketed charity event can be a great way of both raising awareness and having a good time. Set a date, find a venue, hire acts or performers for your special night and organise catering so that no one goes hungry – then it’s down to you to sell the tickets!

You can keep costs down by seeing if you can get discount rates because of the charitable purpose behind your event – and don’t be shy about telling the local press about it, they could help publicise it for you.

Supporting a Friend with Cancer

Cancer can happen to anyone at any time.

There’s no predicting when cancer can strike, so when it does find it’s way into your life it can come as quite a shock.

Research undertaken by Cancer Research UK has shown that 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. Whilst survival rates are improving every year, a diagnosis (which comes with a 78% survival rate) is still a hard thing to take and can lead to a person feeling severely isolated, depressed or even angry.

If someone you know has been given a breast cancer diagnosis then there are a few things that you should consider before you next see them:

Potential physical changes

A cancer diagnosis and the resulting treatment can often lead to some noticeable physical changes in people. Chemotherapy (a form of radiation treatment that many patients will have to go through) often leads to undesirable side effects such as hair loss, weight loss or gain, as well as extreme fatigue. During these transitional periods, when a breast cancer patient is experiencing these changes for the first time, it’s important to be supportive of them.

Consider how these physical changes might make your friend feel; try not to draw attention to their physical appearance, they will already be aware of how they have changed and will no doubt be self-conscious of this. Let them lead the tone of the conversation and let them understand that you’re there to support them.

Emotional reactions

Even if your friend or colleague is receiving treatment for their illness, the potential consequences of their cancer could well be weighing on their mind on a day-to-day basis. Despite how relaxed or at ease they might appear to be, it’s unlikely that their disease is ever that far away from their thoughts. Your friend might act slightly different as a result of their diagnosis, leading them to say or do things that might seem out of character.

Cancer can bring forth all kinds of emotions in people, not all of them negative, so don’t be surprised if your friend starts acting differently – they could be angry, resentful or even happier than they were before. Make sure they’re aware that they can always talk to you should they need to;  having a friend that they can confide in openly will help relieve some of the emotional weight that they might be experiencing.

Ability to function or work

If you happen to work with someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer then you should ensure that you don’t go out of your way to treat them differently to how you did before. Although breast cancer treatment can often leave patients physically or psychologically depleted, you shouldn’t assume that they won’t be able to work to the same level that they did before. Purposefully lightening someone’s workload without talking to them first could lead them to feeling condescended to and might heighten feelings of isolation.

It’s important to make your co-worker and friend feel as valued in your team as they did beforehand. It might be difficult, but it’s crucial to make them feel stable in their work life so that they have the opportunity to continue their  day-to-day activities without having to worry even more about their cancer diagnosis or treatment.

Keep your communications open and always make sure that they feel comfortable talking to you whenever they feel the need to.

Covering Up and Taking It All Off

The Summer Sun is here at last!

At this time of year our minds inevitably wander to how we’ll look when we’re on the beach, or perhaps making the most of the sun in our local park or playing field.

We’ve spent the last 3 months of our lives slavishly avoiding all the foods and drinks that we love nothing more to gorge on – all for the sake of losing those previous few pounds that will make us look that extra bit attractive when it comes to pulling our kit off. However, we sometimes spend so much time and energy worrying about these superficial things, that we forget to think about the other surface level details that may well be giving us an insight into possible diseases that we might be developing.

This Summer, whilst you’re getting changed at the gym or pulling on joggers at home, take some time to have a look at yourself in the mirror. Instead of staring forlornly at the mirror desperately hoping for those abdominal muscles to materialise out of thin air, try and look for abnormal lumps or skin anomalies – these could well be markers of a developing disease or condition.

Whilst it’s not wise to spend hours agonising over your body and it’s appearance, it is sensible to occasionally give yourself a good check over, so that you can confidently strip off at the beach without the fear of an unexpected blemish or unsightly mole appearing out of nowhere. There are many different kinds of perfectly natural moles and marks that appear on the body, so if you do find something out of the ordinary, then don’t panic. Simply make a note of where it is and book in to see your GP, if the mark is still there in a week’s time. If the mole proves to be merely cosmetic then you should be able to have it taken off with the use of a laser mole removal procedure.

The appearance of unusual moles can often occur during or after radiation therapy treatment sessions. Although the appearance of a cluster of dark moles is often seen as a perfectly natural reaction to the treatment, it’s still worth consulting your GP or dermatologist about this, just to make sure that the moles that you’ve got are nothing too serious.

Here at Target Breast Cancer we’re using the arrival of the Summer sun to remind all of our suppliers and designers to check their bodies for any moles or mark which could be a sign of something much worse. We want to get as many people as possible checking themselves and checking each other more regularly so that we can all be confident in our bodies and our overall health. After all, the Summer’s a time when we relish being outside, enjoying the Sun, meeting people and having fun. The last thing you want to be doing, when the weather’s as nice as it is, is worrying about someone seeing the strange mark that you’ve been hiding on your back for the last few months.

So make sure that you keep on checking yourself throughout the Summer; it’s crucial that you stay vigilant, but most of all – make sure you have fun!

Pulling Together the Stitches of Wellbeing

The Fight Against Breast Cancer Continues…

It’s important to remember that the mortality rates of women diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the UK, have improved significantly in the last 100 years.

Just take a look back at the figures from 1944. The Second World War was just about reaching the end, but the country was still struggling with how to diagnose and treat Breast Cancer. At that time just over 25% of all women diagnosed with the disease would survive 10 years after their diagnosis. It was essentially a death sentence, if you were lucky enough to get the diagnosis in the first place.

Flash forward to the 21st Century and significant scientific advances have been made, to the extent that just over 76% of women diagnosed survive longer than 10 years. This means that the survival rate has essentially tripled in the space of sixty years. This complete reversal in the fortunes of those who are unlucky enough to receive a diagnosis can be attributed to a few things:

Increase in awareness of the disease

Breast Cancer has not always been the much talked about disease that it is today. Indeed, only in the last 50 years has there been any real progress in terms of the awareness that it now enjoys. Those benefiting from any kind of counselling or treatment that has been supported by a Breast Cancer charity, more than likely have Betty Westgate to thank. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1968, she was a science teacher who went on to live an incredible 30 years after her initial diagnosis. The Mastectomy Association (as it was originally called), went on to become Breast Cancer Care which pioneered the education of people dealing with Breast Cancer diagnoses, as well as the doctors treating it.

The positive impact of everyday people

Thanks to this huge increase in awareness, the amount of people that take part in fund raising has risen exponentially – year on year. The increase in participation from ordinary people in the realms of fundraising is part in thanks to the good work that people like Betty Westgate have done in their lives and is partly due to the sad fact that thousands of people are effected by Breast Cancer diagnoses every year. Thankfully, there are now more ways than ever to raise money for charities like the Macmillan Cancer Trust and Breast Cancer Care – take a look around this site for some inspiration.

Better coordination of breast cancer care treatments

Lastly, the significant improvement in technology in the past century can’t be ignored. Thanks to the work accomplished by hard-working scientists, we’ve been able to develop advanced care techniques that work in tandem with each other, giving those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer a much better chance to beat their disease. Surgery techniques have been improving vastly over the last 50 years, alongside an improved stance on counselling and more formal education, which has led to Breast Cancer patients having a much more optimistic outlook than in the last few decades.

We’ve certainly come a long way since the early days of Breast Cancer Treatment, but we’ve still got further to go if we’re hoping to target it for good.