I have been involved with Breast Cancer Care since 1998 and have been the chair of trustees since 2008. These last five years in particular have been extraordinary in many ways but 2013 has been exceptionally special, and not just because it is my last year in this role.
This year Breast Cancer Care celebrates its 40th anniversary. And it is still the only specialist breast cancer support charity across the UK.
In the last 40 years the incidence of breast cancer has risen by 70%. Each year 55,000 women are now diagnosed with this disease in the UK. But women diagnosed with breast cancer are now twice as likely to survive their disease for at least 10 years, compared to those diagnosed forty years ago.
Because of this, it is estimated there are now half a million living with a diagnosis of breast cancer. It is vital that all these women and men know that Breast Cancer Care is here to support them and their families.
So we've decided we need to shine through the "pink fog" of the crowded breast cancer sector and show that what we do is different, by developing a new and more distinctive look and feel where orange takes centre stage while pink plays a supporting role.
The essence of what the charity does remains the same. We believe everyone affected by breast cancer should have access to the best treatment, information and support. And what is vital for Breast Cancer Care is that the people who need us know we are here. Too often we have heard women say 'I wish I had found Breast Cancer Care sooner'. We believe our bold, fresh new look will help us stand out from the crowd and reach those people sooner. You can find out more about our new look here.
Most people will see our new identity for the first time in our body image campaign, which depicts three inspiring women revealing their mastectomy scars and sharing their breast cancer stories.
Although the campaign is new, its main aim is to highlight what Breast Cancer Care already does. To let everyone with breast cancer know that we are here for them; that our helpline, forums, publications, information points in hospitals and face to face services are available - completely free of charge.
The campaign also highlights the huge impact breast cancer can have on a woman's perception of her body, her relationships, her confidence. Everyone's experience of altered body image and sexuality and intimacy is unique and we are calling for specialist information and support to be available for those who need it. We will be making recommendations to the government, NHS commissioners and planners, and healthcare providers in England, Scotland and Wales.
Because we talk to thousands of women every year, we know that many feel that this loss of confidence may seem trivial compared to the life threatening diagnosis and the debilitating treatments they are facing. But Breast Cancer Care wants anyone affected by breast cancer to know that they are not alone. This is not trivial; it is certainly not a small price to pay.
The body image campaign launched in late September and can be seen across the UK in magazines, outdoor advertising and online. You can even watch a video featuring the three amazing women who took part in the campaign, Jill, Ismena and Heather, here. We want people to share this film and help us reach those who need us.
But our new campaign also shows that it is possible to have confidence after breast cancer. This is displayed - and celebrated - in our annual fashion shows in London and Glasgow and bi-annual show in Cardiff, which raise around £500,000 each year. You can find out about this year's show here. The Shows kick start Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and feature men and women, all of whom have had a diagnosis of breast cancer, taking to the catwalk with confidence, style and poise. They prove there is life beyond breast cancer. Each year it is a huge privilege for me to attend these amazing events and see not only how confident the models on the catwalk are, but also how inspired and moved the guests are. It is the generosity of those guests, and the generosity of others like them throughout the year, that makes it possible for Breast Cancer Care to provide its services for free and ensure women and men receive the support they need.
Breast cancer remains the UK's most common cancer. Every ten minutes someone receives the news - you have breast cancer. And it is a disease that still takes the lives of nearly 12,000 women every year.
Without Breast Cancer Care there would simply not be the information and specialised support that women and men affected by breast cancer so desperately need. Forty years on there is still so much to do. And so much we can do, with your help.
Find out how you can raise funds for the charity this October at www.breastcancercare.org.uk.