A single mum who survived breast cancer at the age of 31 has told of her despair when she was told she had to fork out up to £200 for her own post-surgery bra.
Jo Tomkin was horrified when she learned that NHS cutbacks meant women in Milton Keynes did not qualify for this “essential” support to help their wounds heal.
As soon as she recovered, she set up her own charity called Jo's Hope to buy the specialist bras for any women who needed them.
“A post cancer surgery bra is not a luxury, it's an essential. But they cost anywhere between £40 and £200, so there are many women like me who find this difficult to afford,” said Jo, who lives in Bletchley with her six-year-old son.
“When I woke up from my second surgery with no support from extensive cutting and tugging, I just screamed and screamed. I will never forget that moment and never forget that feeling and never forget that I do not want any other woman to go through that moment.”
Jo's Hope also provides psychological help and therapy treatments for women fighting cancer.
Jo, who is now 35, said: “There is an extremely limited supply of psychological assistance needed for cancer patients, and none that are known to me at present for the families of non-bereaved members. And there are no medical therapeutic provisions available to cancer patients that don’t involve a waiting list of up to six months."
The charity is currently planning a mega fund raising event for February next year, when Jo and nine other mums will jump out of a plane and sky dive 10,000 feet to the ground.
They hope to raise £6,000, which will pay for at least 1,000 bras.
The women taking part are Rahma Maingot, Donna Tomkin, Samantha Hutchinson, Amy Keane, Jenny Jones, Angela Clarke, Nicola Bartlett and Erica Sharp
“Some of these women won't even go on a merry go round so to do this they are putting all there fears and anxiety into one HUGE adult diaper, gritting their teeth, pulling their hair and climbing on the plane,” said Jo.