Meet Karon: Breast Cancer Action Chair

Breast Cancer Action Chair Karon Wittman shares her story

In August 2015, Karon discovered a lump in her left breast and was referred to the Breast Unit at Leeds Cancer Centre, where she was quickly diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

Following lumpectomy surgery, Karon underwent six rounds of chemotherapy. Despite persevering twice with Leeds Cares-funded cooling caps, it was a struggle and combined with bad reactions to the drugs, a decision was made to abandon further attempts. Radiotherapy followed with more success and Karon was able to return to work in May 2016.

At the time of her diagnosis, Karon was a member of Horsforth Golf Club. During her recovery, fellow member Christine informed her about community group Breast Cancer Action holding meetings at the golf club.

 

The group, consisting of ex-breast cancer patients and their supporters, raise important funds in partnership with Leeds Cares, which are specifically used for breast cancer research and patient support at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Members also volunteer to support patients on the breast unit and in outpatient clinics.

 

“After listening to the group’s history, values, impact and plans I realised that joining was really important to me,” said Karon, “In fact I’ve since learned that Mr Achuthan, my surgeon, was one of the first Research Registrars funded in the early days of the group.”

“My own journey and challenges had not only increased my awareness of breast cancer, but perhaps more importantly highlighted my lack of awareness. This spurred me on to support the group’s ambitions to raise awareness and funds for research and hopefully one day eradicate breast cancer.”

 

In 2019, Karon became Chair of Breast Cancer Action, after long-term member Anne Leng decided to step away from the role but continue to support the group.

“I feel privileged to take on the role, but I also recognise that some members have more knowledge, understanding and skills than me so welcome their support. Anne continues to be generous and fabulous in her ongoing support and guidance, alongside Susan and the fundraising committee.

“The group has achieved so much and impacted on some significant changes in Leeds. They work tirelessly and ambitiously in trying to make a difference to people’s lives, through funding vital research projects and supporting patients pre- and post-diagnosis.

“What makes me most proud is being able to be a small part of these outcomes – alongside wearing my pink t-shirt to help raise awareness and increase the pot.”

 

The group is always on the lookout for new members. If you are interested, please contact sharon.link@leeds-cares.org.