Steph Harrison is a Sevenoaks, Kent, resident whose mission in life is to organise events that raise awareness of and funds for, Breast Cancer Care. Steph very kindly agreed to meet with me and answer a few questions relating to her up and coming event “In Conversation With” and book signing event with Sunday Times bestselling author Susan Lewis in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Susan is the writer of twenty seven novels and two volumes of the memoir: Just One More Day and One Day At A Time. Steph has also very kindly brought along a lovely goody bag for me (I LOVE presents!).
Here is a little bit of my conversation with the organiser of “In Conversation With”.
Q: I already know a little bit about your motivation in fundraising for Breast Cancer Care but I think it’s important for my readers to understand the background behind this if you wouldn’t mind?
A: No, not at all. My reason behind supporting Breast Cancer Care is that the charity were such a support to me when I was diagnosed [Steph is back fighting fit now, thankfully] and I found that there was no other organisation like them in terms of the provision of information and support after diagnosis. I truly felt that they cared for me and they were always at the other end of a phone when I needed them. My first event that I organised was my way of thanking them and giving back after their support; after that I just felt that their message was one that needed to be delivered. I’ve found that Breast Cancer Care is as focused as I am on the importance of early detection and self checking [Steph shows me that my goody bag also contains a copy of Breast Cancer Care’s Health Booklet].
Q: May I ask what your fundraising hopes are for this event?
A: Absolutely, our fundraising objective for this event is over £3000. So far we’ve raised around £2000 with this event just with the ticket sales: there are still more tickets on offer and we’re hoping to raise the rest of the funds on the night through the auction and raffle.
Q: It sounds like you have an achievable aim, so how are Breast Cancer Care supporting you in this event?
A: As always Breast Cancer Care will be there in the background: they will send representatives to support us on the night, provide us with literature for the goody bags and they’re always on the other end of the phone if I need fundraising inspiration [something I know Steph is virtually never short of]. I may not have cancer anymore but they are still there for me. I genuinely feel that the team at Breast Cancer Care have become true friends for life!
Q: So, tell us, how exactly did you end up in collaboration with bestselling author Susan Lewis?
A: Well, following some of my previous events, Susan’s PR officer sent me a copy of Just One More Day: the perfect introduction to Susan’s writing. I was so moved by her portrayal of a family torn apart by cancer that I had to write to her and tell her how it had affected me. We then started up a correspondence and realised how fantastic it would be if we could organise and event together. This is my first event working with Susan as we organised one last year but I was taken ill so had to postpone so I am really excited about this one.
Q: It all sounds very exciting, how easy has it been to organise an event on this scale: it’s not exactly low profile?
A: [Laughs] Do you know, I’ve actually found this one pretty easy to organise. I’m lucky enough to now have a supporting team behind me: Ann, Karen, Vanessa and Erica – The Pink Power Girls have been fantastic. We’re currently one team member short as one of the ladies is undergoing chemotherapy: she’s desperate to be there on the night supporting us though. That’s what makes organising these events so amazing: these people are such an inspiration! They’ve all got their own personal battles to fight and yet they all want to do what they can towards these events. To be honest, the biggest obstacle we’ve had has been finding a suitable venue to hold the event. Thanks to the previous events I’ve organised I’ve made some pretty good relationships with some really generous businesses: the food and prizes for the night have all been donated. The only things left on my to do list are to pick up the cake and the glasses and setting up Friday evening; otherwise we’ve got everything covered!
Q: So what can attendees expect on the night?
A: Well, the guests will all receive a goody bag on arrival at the champagne and canapés reception. The evening will then kick off with the “In Conversation With” which will lead into a question and answer session, then there is due to be a performance by the fantastic Amy Coulshaw, the raffle and auction and then Susan will start the book signing. Plus they get to see me: all that for £20, what a bargain!
Q: [Laughs] well of course! So, tell me, what will you be doing once this event is over: a bit of rest and relaxation?
A: Probably collapsing! No, I’m kidding, although it does take a lot out of me; the events give me such a buzz. It usually takes a few days to recuperate afterwards. Although I’ve not allowed myself so much time to rest after this one as I’m driving up to Liverpool the next day to see the Royal Deluxe.
Q: I think I would be more inclined to rest for a few days myself. Dare I ask if you have more upcoming events in the pipeline?
A: As always! Yes we have the Breast Cancer Care Benefit Concert being held at Sevenoaks School on the 6th July. There are currently four acts due to be performing including: The Find, Sarah Lillie, Amy Coulshaw and one act tbc. All of the acts are all fresh, new and (as yet) unsigned: very talented people looking to get a break. The concert will also be a part of the Sevenoaks festival. Around June/August time we will be holding the annual Strawberry Tea. This is a Breast Cancer Care initiative which involves getting cakes, tea and lovely ladies together to raise funds and awareness.
I am very much looking forward to attending the event next Friday 20th April at Tonbridge School and hope to see many of you there! For those of you that really want to be there but are unable to attend this time I will be posting an update of how the night went next Sunday. For those of you interested in attending please leave a comment in the box below and I will provide more details.
If you are interested in finding out more about Susan Lewis go to: www.susanlewis.com
If you are interested in finding out more about Susan’s publishers go to: www.rbooks.co.uk
If you want more information on Breast Cancer Care go to: www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call the free Helpline on 08088006000
To support Steph in her fundraising endeavours please go to: www.justgiving.com/stephanie-harrison6