A Lancashire mum-of-two is at the heart of a nationwide campaign to bring the incurable secondary breast cancer to light.
Kate Rackham, 44, from Morecambe, who lives with the little-known form of the disease, is the local face of the ‘Fighting To Be Heard’ initiative run by charity Make 2nds Count to raise awareness of forgotten cancer.
Ms Rackham – a primary school teacher working in Salford – appeared on billboards during a publicity blitz in Morecambe and Salford, thanks to a generous media donation by leading home-based company Clear Channel UK.
The campaign promotes a powerful image of Ms. Rackham alongside 19 other secondary breast cancer patients from across the country, whose shared experience is the perception that they are treated as second best since their form of the disease is largely unknown – despite killing 1,000 women in the UK every month.
Ms Rackham said: ‘I chose to join the #fightingtobeheard campaign to raise awareness to help others, to meet people in a similar position, and also to raise money for vital research into this disease, to help extend our lives and so that we have the chance to see our children grow up.
“I feel like we are finally starting to make our voices heard. I have met more women who have contacted me, newly diagnosed, and I am able to help them.
“The women already involved are so special and we really bonded. They are my cancer family.”
Secondary breast cancer – also known as metastatic, advanced or stage IV breast cancer – is cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body and is incurable.
On average, around 35,000 patients in the UK are currently living with this form of the disease.
A YouGov poll, commissioned by Make 2nds Count, found that 38% of the UK population are unaware of secondary breast cancer and although 21% are aware, they are unaware of the common signs/symptoms of the disease .
Lisa Fleming, another secondary breast cancer patient and founder of Make 2nds Count, was determined to raise awareness and launch a campaign among women across the UK, who all shared the same desire to stand up and “fight to be heard”.
Now, thanks to the fantastic contribution from Clear Channel, the campaign has gone live in Morecambe and Salford, Lancaster Road and Manchester Road in Walkden respectively, and is also visible across the UK.
The moving image was originally created by world renowned photography studio Sane Seven, for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month and subsequently seen in Manchester and Birmingham.
The mission to go national came when one of the models, Kimberley Noble from Chester, asked Clear Channel for help.
Since then, two of those involved in the filming have died and a number of others are ill.
Martin Corke, Marketing Director of Clear Channel UK, said: “We were blown away by the hard work and dedication of Make 2nds Count and knew immediately that their important message needed to be spread across the county.
“We know the adverts in Morecambe and Salford will raise awareness in the local community and steer people towards supporting this amazing charity.”
Make 2nds Count was founded to support patients and families, educate and raise funds for disease research.
Broadcast and Loose Women star Carol McGiffin was recently named its first ambassador and the Fighting To Be Heard campaign has already garnered celebrity endorsements from more than 70 influencers and high profile personalities.
Make 2nds Count founder Lisa Fleming, 38, from Edinburgh, who had no breast cancer diagnosis, warning signs or lump when told she had breast cancer primary and secondary school, is thrilled with the response and says Clear Channel’s extremely generous donation will be invaluable in educating people across the country.
She said: ‘We desperately need people to be aware of this forgotten form of breast cancer. We need to change the narrative, raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this disease.
“Primary breast cancer is well documented. Secondary breast cancer is incurable.
“It’s like a parent that no one really wants to talk about, but without education this disease will continue to destroy the lives of so many people.”