On world mental health day, I was delighted to arrange a group mojo swim where we met on Gullane Beach, East Lothian to unite and take to the cold water in support of those living with Secondary Breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October, yet there is only one day in this month, today Wednesday October 13th, that focuses on the awareness of secondary breast cancer, which 31 people die of in the UK every single day and 1000 die of every month. Secondary breast cancer is breast cancer which has spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Although secondary breast cancer can be treated, there is no cure. Unlike those living with primary breast cancer, there is no end of treatment, there is no remission. It’s estimated that 35,000 people are currently living with secondary breast cancer in the UK yet only 7% of the National funding for cancer goes towards this incurable disease.
As a Patron for Make 2nds Count, an incredible Scottish based charity giving hope to all those with secondary breast cancer, I wanted to arrange a fun and uplifting event that was at the heart of making seconds count. Cold water swimming has been a God send for so many of us during the pandemic and I love raising awareness about how invigorating it is. It was great to see such an amazing turnout We all took to the freezing cold water to unite and raise much needed awareness of all those living with secondary breast cancer. The atmosphere in the sea was electric. I’ve had lots of messages from people affected by secondary breast cancer to say thanks for arranging something so fun.
Taking to the sea was a mix of excited and a little nervous adults and kids. Some had never tried wild swimming before and commented that the natural high after it was unreal. It was amazing to see so many kids enjoying it too.
Patrick, who works in a fast paced auditing role commented:
‘This is my absolute happy place, I have to do this more. It just feels so good. What an atmosphere in the water’.
Wendy who heads up 2 of Edinburgh councils nurseries said:
‘I actually can’t believe I did it. I honestly wasn’t sure, then I just got in. The changing feelings are unreal, until the overwhelming sense of calm. I honestly didn’t want to get out. I need to do this again.’
Filmmaker Peter commented:
‘What an afternoon and a perfect way to raise awareness for such an important cause. So many have still never heard of secondary breast cancer. It was fitting that the event fell on world mental health day and cold water swimming has to be the best way to wake up the mojo’.
It was a windy afternoon on the beach so I led the group in a mini Wim Hoff breathing session to get us prepared for the shock of the cold water. The sun beamed down on us and our much needed cheerleaders 5 minutes into the plunge.
Fiona Gibson, community fundraiser from Make 2nds Count said:
‘It was great to see such a buzz on the beach and our Make 2nds Count flag flying high. This is a huge month for us with breast cancer awareness running through October and we want to shout about secondary breast cancer. 38% of adults surveyed have never heard of secondary breast cancer. There are over 35,000 people with secondary breast cancer in the UK.’
I’ll admit, I was super nervous about arranging an event this year. Life can still feel pretty unpredictable as we navigate through this pandemic. I was worried that I would have to cancel at the last minute due to covid and that lots may have to drop out. I was nervous about arranging a large group event and contacting loads of people. I was worried about it being an outside event with the Scottish weather being so unpredicable. I felt super out of practise and out of my comfort zone. Ask me to talk on live radio in front of a million people, no bother. Ask me to stand on a stage and give a motivational talk to a cram packed room, I will jump right in. This felt different though but I am SO GLAD that I just felt the fear and bashed on. Of course when you spend time planning an event, people will always drop out last minute. It’s part of the process. You just have to keep the faith that people will turn up. I also prayed hard for a nice Autumn day. I joked with the crowds on the beach about the fact I am sure they would have turned up had it been the day before, which was a total downpour.
A massive thanks to all who came and supported this. A special thanks to the Fun Mum’s Club who reached our a few weeks before the event to ask how they could support it. This was a massive confidence boost for me. Sarah who founded the club will be talking on the time for a mojo injection podcast soon, all about wild swimming and how it has changed her life. These guys were amazing on the day, turning up early with a huge trolly to help carry stuff, helping to light an epic fire as we got everything set up. They were in the sea with me for about 25 minutes and last to leave those waves. Good times.
If you would like to donate to Make 2nds Count please follow this link.
Today is secondary breast cancer awareness day – let’s do our bit to shout out for all those impacted and to make each second count.
For more information on Make 2nds Count visit: https://www.make2ndscount.co.uk/
Jojo Fraser is an award-winning author, podcaster and keynote speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate. She is a Tedx speaker and a regular speaker on BBC Radio. Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental health, making it accessible and relatable to all. She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people. She has a huge passion for helping people to get their mojo back.
Contact her at – firstname.lastname@example.org or across social @jojofrasermojo
Follow Jojo’s popular podcast here, which is dubbed by her global listeners as ‘free therapy’. A new series has just launched.