A MUCH-loved breast reconstruction support group has marked ten years of helping women across the borough.

Rainbow Breast Reconstruction Group, which was formed in Amblecote, held a special anniversary party at its White House Cancer Support base, which included the last official mayoral visit from Dudley’s outgoing first citizen Councillor Steve Waltho.

Also among the guests at the anniversary event were local businessman and philanthropist Geoff Hill, who has been a major supporter of the group throughout its history.

The group was set up in 2006 after a chance meeting at a checkout at Sainsbury’s in Withymoor Village. Denise Hudson and Debbie Barnett had both undergone reconstructive surgery following breast cancer and soon became good friends.

The pair had provided support to each other and shared their experiences, and although there was a breast cancer groups in the borough, there was not a group specifically for ladies who had been through breast reconstruction.

So Denise and Debbie decided to create their own group for women who have had, or are considering, reconstructive surgery.

The success of the support group, as well as Denise’s now disbanded charity which raised money for the breast reconstruction unit at Russells Hall Hospital, were celebrated at the recent event.

Denise said: “It was a very successful evening and I thought it would provide a god opportunity to raise awareness of not just the work and support our group offers, but that of the White House.

“When we had the charity we raised more than £60,000 from our walks at Bodenham Arboretum, but they got so big and popular that they were too hard to run and organise all by myself, so I unfortunately had to disband it last year.

“But the group is still going strong which was always the main thing. We have definitely helped more than 100 ladies over the 10 years, but the best part for me is when the ladies who have been supported come back to our meetings for a chat with the new members.

“Talking about breast reconstruction is not doom and gloom. We are a friendly and lively group and when people go away from our meetings we want them to feel uplifted.

“We have great connections with the nurses at Russells Hall and if people have questions that I don’t know the answer to, I can put them in contact with the people that do.”

Caroline Webb, manager of Ednam Road-based White House Cancer Support, said: “The group is such a good asset to the area and much-loved by all of us here.

“They have grown so much in the last 10 years, and since I have been here in the past year they have inspired so many women.

“The anniversary night went really well and it was such a very successful event. We had ladies come along who had never been before, and what they heard inspired them to get involved with the group.

“Denise and Debbie are wonderful and give the members of the group so much support through their own experiences and long may it continue.”

The group meets on the third Thursday of every month at 10.30am. For more information call 01384 231232.