Brains behind Manchester charity Boot Out Breast Cancer hosts glitzy fundraiser for life-saving equipment

Celebrity patrons of Boot Out Breast Cancer will descend on the city next month with hopes of raising over £100,000 for victims of the disease.

Famous faces including Alan Shearer, Dame Sarah Storey and Andy Burnham MP will attend the charity’s Bollywood Ball at the Lancashire County Cricket Club on March 8.

The Manchester-based charity, set up in 2010 by Debbie Dowie, a cancer survivor and wife of former West Ham United player Iain Dowie, has raised over £340,000 towards state-of-the-art equipment for Manchester hospitals.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and I have worked in voluntary fundraising for the past 10 years,” she told MM.

“After many discussions with my surgeon, he told me that there is a need to have the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

“I was considering just doing a one-off event, but I decided to set up a brand new charity just buying equipment.”

Over the past three years Boot Out Breast Cancer has attracted donations from various famous faces, and next month’s Bollywood Ball promises to be a star-studded occasion.

“I am lucky enough that my husband used to play football with Alan Shearer at Southampton,” said Debbie. “I met Dame Sarah Storey when Ian was on a Question of Sport and we have stayed friends.”

“I am really looking forward to the event as there will be a champagne reception entertainment and Indian catering.”

As well as being a fundraising event, the ball will also serve as a launch pad for the charity’s very own cycling team, led by Dame Sarah.

“The Bollywood Ball is taking place on March 8, where we are launching our own cycling and we will introduce the girls who will be taking part in the Tour of Britain,” Debbie said.

Debbie believes that spotting the signs of cancer early on was a key factor in her recovery and is committed to giving other people get the same chance of survival.

“To be honest I was fortunate enough that I discovered my cancer early and that early diagnosis is so important and by us buying the latest diagnostic equipment you do find out much earlier,” she said.

“We are quite a new charity and I feel very passionate about the latest technology as they can get some of the most amazing results.”

Debbie believes that the charity has become so successful in such a short space of time is because 100% of the funds raised go towards the new equipment.

“The charity is all run by volunteers, everyone gives up their time for free,” she said. “I have a core of around 7 people but people give their time when they can.”

Boot Out Breast Cancer have funded crucial equipment for cancer charity Breakthrough , who have been carrying out landmark research.

“We bought a liquid handling platform which was £100,000 after I spoke to the new director at Breakthrough,” said Debbie.

“He talked about new research they were carrying out and that he needed the new equipment to finish the study.

“The results have since been incredible and I am sure he will one day he will win a Nobel Prize for it.”

One of the systems the charity has provided for hospitals is the DigniCap, which is an effective treatment for avoiding hair loss related to chemotherapy.

“Keeping your hair for men and women is absolutely massive, I think just for your children and everything else,” added Debbie.

“The trials using the new system have meant that 83% of people kept their hair, which is phenomenal.

“I have spoken to patients in private hospitals in London and it makes such a difference.”

Picture courtesy of Debbie Dowie, with thanks

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