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Thanks a lot, Macmillan - you're all stars

PUBLISHED: 10:33 10 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:20 01 July 2010

Beverley Birritteri.

Beverley Birritteri.

Matthew Sparkes

A woman who founded a group to help cancer survivors through breast reconstruction after her own battle with the disease has praised the fundraisers behind the Starlight Walk.

A woman who founded a group to help cancer survivors through breast reconstruction after her own battle with the disease has praised the fundraisers behind the Starlight Walk.

The 13-mile hike around Norwich ring road will attract hundreds of walkers on Friday, June 18 and raise thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support, to be spent within Norfolk. The money will trickle down to grass roots support groups such as Keeping Abreast.

Last year, Macmillan gave more than £4,000 in grants to self-help and support groups in the county, raised through events such as the Starlight Walk.

Co-founded by Beverley Birritteri and supported by grants from Macmillan, Keeping Abreast helps women through reconstruction surgery.

It was given an initial £300 grant when it was founded in September 2007 to print leaflets, and this helped the team to attract 30 women to their first meeting. They now have more than 300 members and have received more than £5,000 of help from Macmillan for everything from training to transport.

“We haven't been going very long; there's obviously a need for it,” said Beverley.

“When we first started Macmillan were great. They really have supported us and helped us so much.”

Beverley was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in June 2006 and had reconstruction surgery in July. “It was rather a whirl, and you don't have any time to think about it,” she said, But she added that that it was because of the “fantastic” efforts behind fundraising events like the Starlight Walk that Macmillan had the budget to help groups such as hers.

Keeping Abreast holds support sessions every other month in Norwich and King's Lynn and one in Cromer every three months, and together they have more than 300 members.

You can meet other women facing the same issues and talk to those who have recently had surgery. The group also arranges for volunteer “flashers”: people who have been through reconstruction themselves and who can show women the results of their surgery.

For more information about Keeping Abreast visit www.keepingabreast.org.uk

Are you taking part in the Starlight Walk? Tell us why by calling Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439; email matthew.sparkes@archant.co.uk

To register to take part visit www.starlightwalknorwich.co.uk or call 01603 593779.

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