Manchester Storm is putting its weight behind the annual Paint Altrincham Pink event (24 February – 3 March), by swapping its customary purple and yellow strip for pink jerseys against the Sheffield Steelers.
The ice hockey team, based at Altrincham’s Planet Ice, is supporting the charity initiative, in aid of Prevent Breast Cancer, by auctioning off the shirts after the game, with academy players also collecting money on the day. It is one of over 20 Altrincham-based businesses taking part in fundraising this year.
The team were inspired to get involved by Vicki Thomas, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last September at just 36. Her husband, Mark, is a former professional ice hockey player who played for the Sheffield Steelers. Mark is also planning to raise money for Prevent – the only UK charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer – by walking overnight from Sheffield to Altrincham during Paint Altrincham Pink week later this month.
Vicki has two sons aged 10 and 8, has already raised more than £2,000 for the charity through a Christmas shopping event, and £19,000 in total. Her oldest son has also bravely done a charity head shave and organised a pink stall at school, selling stationery to help fundraise for Prevent, which is based at the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital and funds research into the different factors that increase the risk of the disease.
She said: “When I received my breast cancer diagnosis last year, my entire world just crumbled. My first thought was how I was going to tell the boys and how they would react, but they’ve been incredible throughout my treatment.”
Vicki finished her last round of chemotherapy and ‘rung the bell’ on 8 February. The next stage is surgery in mid-March, with her personal goal to be cancer-free by Easter this year. During her treatment, she has built up a close friendship with longstanding Prevent fundraiser and breast cancer survivor, Sarah Saphier, who lives in Cheadle and was the reason Vicki got involved in the charity.
She added: “The friendships I’ve made throughout my treatment have helped enormously in enabling me to deal with my diagnosis and to overcome it. It was those friendships that also opened my eyes to the vital research that Prevent carries out each and every day in its mission to create a future free from breast cancer. That’s why, as a family, we’re getting fully behind Paint Altrincham Pink and we want to thank everyone at Manchester Storm for their support too.”
Vicki, who works at a market research company in Cheadle Hulme, is planning to hold a raffle for the special edition pink jerseys at Manchester Storm on 24 March. Other events being held during Paint Altrincham Pink include: Pink Drinks and Race Night on 27 February at Timperley Sports Club; pink cakes at Gran T’s Coffee House; a special pink pizza at Italian restaurant Tre Ciccio; and an extra special pink tapas dish at Porta.
Nikki Barraclough, executive director at Prevent Breast Cancer, said: “We’re so excited to once again have Paint Altrincham Pink on our events calendar for 2019. Last year, we raised nearly £12,000 through the fantastic fundraising efforts of businesses and residents in Altrincham and we’re delighted that inspirational people, such as Vicki, are pledging their support, alongside the likes of Manchester Storm, to help us in our long-term to lead ground-breaking research into the prediction and prevention of breast cancer.”