Mum to host charity ball after brother is diagnosed with bladder cancer

Pauline D'Errico from Bedford with her family, raising awareness of bladder cancer.
Pauline D'Errico from Bedford with her family, raising awareness of bladder cancer.

A Bedford mother of two is hoping to raise £12,000 for charity after her brother was diagnosed with bladder cancer earlier this year.

Pauline D’Errico was moved to action after learning how underfunded research and awareness of bladder cancer is.

Every year in Britain 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer and 5,000 die from it.

Pauline said: “I was really shocked that it is so underfunded because it’s quite a common disease affecting lots of people. Breast cancer and prostate cancer get so much funding but bladder cancer really doesn’t – it’s truly shocking.”

Pauline is fundraising for The Urology Foundation - the only charity in the UK that covers all urological conditions, including prostate, bladder and kidney cancer. The charity funds research to develop better diagnoses and treatments of urological diseases and trains surgeons in the latest techniques such as robotic procedures.

Pauline’s brother Nick was diagnosed after noticing blood in his urine, a common symptom.

Although his doctor sent him for a scan which came back clear, an additional examination revealed he already had grade three cancer in a third of his bladder.

Pauline said: “Often you hear about bladder cancer symptoms being misdiagnosed as urinary infections - he was lucky he had a doctor who went that bit further.”

His diagnosis was a double blow for Pauline, 50, who herself was diagnosed with

cancer three years earlier, on Christmas Eve 2011.

She said: “It was a massive shock for us both to be affected by cancer and so soon together. It was harder for me to see him go through it than to go through it myself. Now I know how everyone else felt around me when I was diagnosed. When it’s you, you become stronger because you are going through it. I’m the eldest sibling so I’ve always felt quite protective towards him. He doesn’t have a partner or children so I go to the hospital with him for all his sessions with the doctors but it’s hard, it brings back lots of bad memories.

“But having both been diagnosed with cancer has brought us closer together.”

Pauline decided to hold a ball for The Urology Foundation after watching an interview with TUF’s Chief Executive, Louise de Winter, on ITV Anglia.

She said: “The work TUF is doing with regards to bladder cancer is amazing and I am delighted to be able to raise funds for such a brilliant charity. TUF is putting money into research to look for a cure and look for the latest treatments – this is what every patient wants.”

This will be the third ball Pauline has organised, following her own diagnosis with breast cancer. She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and says the hardest thing was telling her sons, Dominico and Nick who were 17 and 20 at the time.

Pauline said: “I didn’t tell my sons straight away because I didn’t want to ruin Christmas. I was very worried about telling them but I was surprised by how well they dealt with the news. I carried on working in the family business throughout my treatment – I had to stay strong in front of the kids but when I was on my own I’d often cry.”

Louise de Winter, Chief Executive of The Urology Foundation, said: “There are millions of men and women in the UK living with urological conditions today. There is a significant need for increased funding for research, which is why we are so grateful to Pauline for fundraising for us.

“We rely on donations to fund our pioneering work. However big or small, these gifts allow ordinary people to make an extraordinary impact on our crucial research and training.”

The ball for bladder cancer will be held at Bedford Corn Exchange on Saturday, February 7.

If anyone would like to help sponsor the ball or make a donation, email

pauline@francos-ices.co.uk

For more information about The Urology Foundation go to www.theurologyfoundation.org