Published on Wednesday 31 May 2017
A mother who had a double mastectomy has raised over £3,000 as a special thank you to Wirral University Teaching Hospital’s specialist Breast Centre where she was treated.
Pam Betts, 56, who lives in Wallasey, enlisted the help from her family and friends in hosting her own X Factor style event called the Y Factor.
The mother-of- three wanted to raise funds for the unit at the Trust’s Clatterbridge Hospital site, to help others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
With a significant family history of breast cancer among multiple women in her family, Pam had lived all her life with the fear she may get it.
After reaching her 30s she started being screened every three years then in February 2015 following her regular screening, a tumour was discovered in her breast. As a result Pam underwent a lumpectomy and also received radiotherapy.
However when a family member developed breast cancer in her second breast, Pam realised she too could develop it in her other breast.
She said: “I’ve lived all my life in fear of breast cancer and I felt that I didn’t want to carry on and have mammograms forever, as I belong to a high family history risk group. So I came to the decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. I decided I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with the fear of it.
“The greatest support has been from my husband. The biggest stigma around it is the worry that you won’t feel like yourself anymore. Since Angelina Jolie had it done, it was discussed more amongst friends. After discussing it with a specialist breast cancer nurse I had counselling before the operation and my husband came with me.”
Pam underwent surgery in August 2016 and she was supported throughout the process.
She said: “You think it’s going to be worse than it is. I thought I would wake up and my chest would be really sore. The staff were really good. I wasn’t in pain or anything. They were so lovely.
“The biggest thing after the operation was the first time I saw myself and that happened in the clinic. That was the biggest hurdle after the operation. The nurse sat with me and supported me during that. I actually just looked down and thought it looked very neat.
“I’ve still not fully recovered physically yet as it can take quite a few months to get your mobility back.”
Following her own experience she wanted to help others who had been diagnosed with breast cancer by raising money for the hospital.
Her family has been fundraising for many years for various causes, which was started by her late father and she continues the legacy.
Around 100 people attended the Y Factor event, which was held at the Grosvenor ballroom in Wallasey and was a real family affair with her children, nieces, nephews and extended family all getting involved. Two of her nieces also had their heads shaved at the event to raise funds with the help of Absolut Hairlounge in Wallasey.
Pam added: “I was quite lucky. As I was recovering I could go and have nice days out with my family but some women can’t afford that. I know the unit helps women with that and those things help
“After all the support I had from the centre I just wanted them to have that money.”
Victoria Burrows, Head of Fundraising at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Pam and her family for their amazing fundraising event. This was such a wonderful , thoughtful thing to do and I would like to wish Pam all the very best in her recovery."
Pam Betts and her family, pictured with Alison McGenity, Macmillan Breast Cancer Nurse, who was among the staff at Wirral University Teaching Hospital who treated Pam.