A cancer patient from North Tawton is organising a ladies night next month to raise money for FORCE, the charity that has supported her and her family.
School cook Serena Fewings had surgery and treatment for bowel and ovarian cancer last year and has just finished another course of chemotherapy after three further lesions were discovered this year.
FORCE, which operates an outreach service at Okehampton’s Castle Ham Lodge each Wednesday, has helped the mum-of-two by providing advice and support throughout and she wanted to find a way of repaying them
“I’m not the sort of person who can run, climb a mountain or jump out of a plane,” said Serena. “So a ladies night seemed like a good way for us to give something back to FORCE.”
The event will be held at Quinns hairdressing salon in East Street, Okehampton, on Friday July 31.
There will be drinks and nibbles served by topless waiters, a raffle and a silent auction.
Serena and her team – her sisters Tonya Dufty and Merissa Grimes and Quinns salon owner and advanced stylist Dawn Pitts – are appealing for items to sell.
Shoes, handbags, hats, fascinators, jewellery and other accessories are all on their wanted list.
Serena, kitchen manager at North Tawton Primary School and a long-time member of the town’s ANTS amateur dramatic group, is hoping to raise money and awareness of the work FORCE does to support anyone locally affected by cancer, free of any charge.
“The Support Centre in Exeter is a lovely place to go, away from the hospital. It’s a nice place to just sit and relax,” she said. “I also drop in for coffee with new friends I’ve made at Castle Ham and I’ll also be going there for massages.”
Her friends and family, including children Karina, a theatre nurse at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, and media studies graduate Alexander (known as Jab), have been a great support to Serena during a tough time in her life.
In the past five years she has lost both parents and her husband Malcolm, who died in an accident, before her initial cancer diagnosis in January 2014.
But she remains remarkably upbeat and quick to laugh.
“You’ve just got to get on with it really haven’t you. Sitting around moping isn’t going to make the situation any better,” she said with a smile.
Tickets for the ladies night cost £10 and are available from Quinns. To make a donation for the silent auction or raffle, contact Serena (07712 337578), Tonya Dufty (07899 913759) or Dawn Pitts (01837 54445).
Our picture shows (left to right) sisters Tonya Dufty, Serena Fewings and Merissa Grimes at the FORCE Cancer Charity Support and Information Centre in Exeter.