Breast cancer survivors get Strictly lesson as health app wins award

Shirley Ballas surprises project in Glasgow with major award''for Breast Cancer Care app, BECCA. Picture: Mark Ferguson Gibson
Shirley Ballas surprises project in Glasgow with major award''for Breast Cancer Care app, BECCA. Picture: Mark Ferguson Gibson
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A group of breast cancer survivors were treated to a surprise dance class with Strictly judge Shirley Ballas as the app they used to help them through their recovery was recognised with an award.

The Breast Cancer Care app BECCA, which gives information and advice through cancer recovery, was named the best health project in the annual National Lottery Awards.

Ms Ballas, who recently had a breast cancer scare herself, met a group of app users in Glasgow on Tuesday and praised the project.

She said: “I truly empathise with the damaging effects of cancer after a recent health scare and a family history of cancer.

“My mum who is 80 has recently gone through colon cancer and had an operation.

“My mum is a very private person but I think she would also benefit from being able to talk to different people rather than keeping it to herself, so I urge anybody out there that this is a great app to sign into.

“It is incredible to hear the stories of how BECCA has helped women cope with life after breast cancer - it is a daunting transition and BECCA is doing the much-needed job of shining a light on how to get through to the other side.

“It is also great to see National Lottery money in action and making a difference to projects like this.”

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App user Karen Gold was among those presented with the award.

The 47-year-old, from Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, said: “The app is my night-time reading.

“I find at night is when I start to worry again about breast cancer and natural anxieties that a cancer diagnosis left me with, but I find when I’m unable to sleep I can tap into the app and it helps reassure me that I’m not alone in the way I’m feeling.

“I was diagnosed in 2016 and had surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and was then told I was going to be on hormone therapy for a decade.

“I came out of all the treatment and tried to get on with life and move forward with breast cancer, but found I struggled.

“The BECCA app came a part of my life and it helped me get through a lot of my anxieties and made me feel less isolated.

“This award is well deserved and will get the word out there more other women who don’t know about it because I’m sure they’ll reap the benefits.”

Samia al Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: “Moving forward after breast cancer can feel like a huge mountain to climb and we’re so excited that BECCA, which empowers women in their journey after breast cancer, has won the health category in the National Lottery Awards. Thank you to everyone that voted for BECCA.”

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