Breast cancer can have a huge psychological impact even when all the surgery is over.

One Huddersfield woman who has been through it is Karen Duckworth who was diagnosed with three tumours when she was 42.

Now she has spoken frankly about it and why she’s doing a fundraiser in her home village of Honley to mark her 50th birthday and raise money for a cancer charity which helped her through some dark times.

Karen said: “Getting the diagnosis was a shock, as you can imagine. I was looked after immediately and thoroughly by the NHS. Following a couple of surgeries, a mastectomy and reconstruction plus very long-term hormone medication to prevent a reoccurrence, I was told I had a good chance of longevity. Brilliant, all done and dusted.

“It wasn’t though. The other part to the story is the unseen, the anxiety, fear, loneliness, depression, sleepless nights, emotions and, of course, the visible and physical impact of breast removal surgery.

“You would have thought I’d be relieved at avoiding chemo and radiotherapy but I was terrified that the cancer was not completely gone, sending me spiralling into 24-hour a day anxiety on top of some horrendous side effects from the medication.

“I was lucky that I had wonderful, supportive family and friends – particularly my ever-patient, solid as a rock husband, Simon – plus a caring, supportive employer and brilliant colleagues. Yet I still needed more help.”

Karen was referred to the charity Breast Cancer Now and their Moving Forward programme.

She said: “Support was available day and night through their website and I was invited to groups and events to help me with the longer term aspects of wellbeing, diet, exercise, body image and mental health.

“I joined chat forums with women of my age with similar stories and was invited to join workshops to help me deal with the lifestyle changes I needed to make, my body image and post-operative care and I met some amazing people along the way. They put me in touch with other people with breast cancer who shared their stories.

“I made steady progress thanks to Breast Cancer Now. The charity prevented me from going down a horrible wormhole.”

Roan and his mum, Emma Sumpton

On the day Karen received her ‘one year, all clear’ she learned that her stepson Roan’s mum, Emma Sumpton, had also been diagnosed. Tragically, 47-year-old Emma, who used to live in Kirkheaton, lost her battle against breast cancer – her second in three years – in August 2020.

Karen said: “I count my blessings that I’m here at 50 and to celebrate I’m raising much needed funds for Breast Cancer Now to say thank you and to provide support for the thousands of women and men who will rely on their care and services in the future.”

The event, called Karen’s Breast Fest, will be held on Saturday, May 18 at The Foresters Arms in Honley. It’s a family-friendly mini festival with beers, bangers, burgers and bands. There will be raffle prizes and ‘booby’ prizes.

Karen’s fundraising target is £2,000 and she’s already raised over £1,100.

In an added twist Karen has no middle name … but will have one after the festival.

She said: “When I asked my late father why I didn’t get given a middle name he simply said: ‘Oh, we couldn’t afford one!’

“So I will be raffling off my middle name and changing it by deed poll to raise funds.”

For just £2 people can buy a ticket and choose a name. Tickets go into a knockout and every ticket from the final 16 drawn will win a raffle prize donated by local businesses and friends. Karen’s new middle name will be the one on the final raffle ticket drawn from the hat.

Karen added: “People and businesses have been incredibly generous and have donated some amazing prizes, including meals for two at several restaurants in the area. I have set my target to £2,000 which will pay for just four days of much needed research for breast cancer, a cancer that is diagnosed every 10 minutes. I hope to exceed that to support this worthy cause as best I can.”

Karen had originally planned to just raffle her middle name for charity but after talking to Stewart McVey and Ruth Beattie who run the Foresters they decided to turn it into a full-on fundraising day.

“They’ve been absolutely amazing,” said Karen.

Karen is also organising a fashion show to raise money for Breast Cancer Now which will be held in Honley Village Hall at Moorbottom on June 7. She is doing it in collaboration with Honley fashion shop Chain Reaxtion.

Tickets for Karen’s Breast Fest are available from The Foresters Arms or via the JustGiving link

For more information on Breast Cancer Now go to

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.