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Staff at BIH bin their bras for charity
Friday 21 October 2016

The staff at Berkshire Independent Hospital is supporting “Against Breast Cancer” by helping to raise funds for research into breast cancer by collecting unwanted bras.  Against Breast Cancer is a personal crusade of founders Dr Anthony Leathem and his wife Patricia in a quest for a future free of breast cancer. 

Thirty years ago, Anthony was a pathologist at The Middlesex Hospital, he became upset by the number of post mortems he was carrying out each day on young women with breast cancer. The couple took matters into their own hands, Anthony began carrying out research into breast cancer survival and wife Patricia, who was a breast cancer theatre nurse, contacted organisations for support, rallied round a group of friends to start collecting outside supermarkets and sold flowers and cakes outside her house and from small seeds mighty oaks grow.

In their first year they raised 15k and in 1987 the Lancet published news of Anthony’s research breakthrough which had identified a chemical difference between aggressive and non-aggressive breast cancer cells, this news spread worldwide and in 1993 the couple set up the charitable fund.

Lisa Whiting, theatre nurse at BIH, is supporting the fundraising and driving initiatives to help raise funds. A bra bank has been set up in the staff room to encourage staff to donate their unwanted bras. For every tonne of bras collected, Against Breast Cancer receives £700 to fund their research.

The bras are used in developing countries where textiles are sold to help keep families out of poverty. Through donation and together with recycling partners, the bras will not go into landfills but will go to countries where they are too expensive to produce.

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