Strengthening Emotional and Social Networks in Breast Cancer

A project by: kk908823


WE RAISED £2,169

from 85 donors

Throughout the month of May, I am running 200 kilometres to raise funds to support the emotional and social needs of women with breast cancer. This means an average of 7K a day, can I do it? I am determined to. In the UK every 10 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. While medicine is doing its best to save lives from breast cancer, research shows that emotional resilience can impact survival. Breast cancer comes with hidden emotional costs and it is a sad reality that emotional support for rebuilding lives in breast cancer is scarce. 


I am a professor of psychology at the University of Reading and my research focuses on anxiety, depression and resilience, using cognitive neuroscience. I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2013, when my daughter was just under 3, and I was at the prime of my life having been promoted to full professor in 2012. At the end of my active treatment which took a year to complete, I quickly became aware of the psychological needs of women with breast cancer -  a need which is highly unmet.

BRIC brings people together

I founded the award winning centre for building resilience in breast cancer (BRiC) to conduct cutting edge research for better ways to empower women with resilience so that they can thrive while surviving breast cancer.  Research, including my own, shows that anxiety and depression can loom high for many years and affect our confidence and self-esteem and we can feel alone. My research has also shown that breast cancer can affect our working lives and we can suffer financially too which can impact our families especially if we have children.

BRiC has a network over 2200 members who support each other in rebuilding their lives post breast cancer diagnosis. These women meet online for weekly themed guided discussions and activities. 

where will the money go?

I am raising money to be able to provide travel grants and expenses to enable women to attend BRIC gatherings in person. Cancer can be very isolating and through my research I've seen first hand what a difference it makes for women to be able to make connections with others, strengthening their resilience and emotional support networks.

Being able to provide the funds for a train ticket will mean no women in need should have to miss out on the support she deserves.

Here are a few pictures from our previous gatherings all across the UK. Our women enjoy meeting up and learn so much from one another. 

the power of BRIC gatherings

Some quotes from our previous gatherings:

"Following my diagnosis I felt completely alone and abandoned to my fate. I couldn’t understand how such a brutal thing happened to me. I didn’t recognise myself physically or emotionally anymore. I lost my self confidence and ability to advocate for myself. Joining BRiC’s community was a life changer and a life saver. I was at rock bottom and completely lost. I found ladies who understood, who I didn’t have to explain anything to. I felt cared about and heard. I rediscovered myself and my voice." Lavinia

“I felt totally alone with my breast cancer, I was surrounded by people who love me and wanted to help, but it was only when I found BRiC that I found women like me, who truly understand my experience. My anxiety about meeting new people was washed away in an instant by the love and support I found at my first BRiC meet up. I will be forever grateful to BRiC for the friendships I have made.” Jan

“The cancer journey is tough, rough on us and our family and friends. It can also be extremely lonely....Just the chance to meet others going through this journey, enable us to share experiences and realise that the hardship affects all ,not just us individually. These meet ups are a breeze of fresh air, just the ability to have open conversations of our experiences makes it less lonely. They are a blessing, crucial for our mental health that also affects our physical health.” Jo

Find out more about BRIC here:

Website  and blog: 

Facebook: @resilienceinbreastcancer 

X -Twitter: @ProfNDerakshan, @BC_resilience

Instagram: @profnderakshan, @briccentre