A SOUTHAMPTON woman has embarked on a year of running challenges, taking part in 12 events in 12 months, to raise money for The Wessex Haven.

The Wessex Haven provides personalised care and support for people with breast cancer, helping them to achieve the best possible quality of life.

Tracey Connor, from Bitterne Park, lost her mother to breast cancer as a child, when her mother was aged just 49.

The 47-year-old explains: "I wanted to raise money for a local charity who were supporting people and their families going through breast cancer.

"Back in the 1980s, when my mum was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer, there were few charities or known help for people with breast cancer or their families who were going through the trauma of the disease.

"The aftermath of breast cancer was devastating to our family and there was virtually no support out there in the community.

"It is really important to me that the money goes somewhere local as I am sure my mum and our family would have benefitted greatly from The Haven and all the fabulous work they do, had it been available.

"It was great to go and visit the The Haven in Titchfield to see what they were about and what support they are offering.

"I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead and I hope I can raise the profile and much needed funds for The Haven.

Tracey has already completed the Romsey 5 Mile Race and the Southampton CRUK 10K Snowflake Run.

She will be taking part in 11 further runs, including the Maverick Original 8K Trail Run, the Romsey Beer Race and the Heartbreaker Tailwind Trail 10 mile run.

The Haven provides vital one-to-one support for thousands of breast cancer patients in the UK, with centres in London, Wessex and Hereford and Yorkshire. The Haven team works closely with NHS partners to go beyond medical treatment to help visitors and their families cope with the wider impact of breast cancer through personalised, specialist care.

The Haven addresses everything from nutrition, financial advice and counselling, to exercise and complementary therapies.

It provides a wide range of therapies which help people deal with the physical and emotional side effects of breast cancer, all free of charge.

Specialist nurses and experts in nutrition, exercise and emotional support provide tailor-made one to one programmes for each visitor. No referral is necessary.

Heidi Rehman – Community Fundraiser at The Wessex Haven said: “We are thrilled that Tracy has taken on this year long challenge in aid of The Wessex Haven.

"It provides awareness for the centre which means that those who need us know about us, and of course vital funds to ensure that we can provide their personalised programme of support.

"Since we opened in October, our specialist nurses have given first consultations to more than 80 visitors and more than 200 hours of therapy, but with 3000 currently in treatment in our region there are still so many that we can help make a difference for."

For more information about The Wessex Haven, visit: thehaven.org.uk/wessex

To sponsor Tracy, visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TracyConner