The family of a Calderdale choreographer who tragically lost her battle with cervical cancer last year completed an eight-mile walk to raise awareness of the disease with the hope of saving lives.
Lightcliffe resident Faye Knowles-Chapman, who died in March, was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 24 - one year under the lower age limit for smear tests (cervical screening). That meant she faced a long battle to persuade doctors to take her illness seriously and refer her for tests.
Last year Faye’s family set up a foundation in her name, which received charitable status on Friday and has already raised £13,000. And now they want to use it as a vehicle for positive change to ensure that no family has to go through what they went through.
Faye’s cousin Rebecca Culpan, who organised the walk to Hebden Bridge, said: “Last year we did the walk to try and raise funds for private treatment for Faye. But this year we have done it, and set up a foundation, to try and save young girls by paying for smear tests for under 25s.
“Even if we only save one girl it will be completely worth it. We just want to make people aware and get checked.
“If one girl has got all the symptoms and the NHS won’t pay for a smear test then we will pay for them to go private and have the screening.”
As well as raising funds, the foundation has distributed a number of posters informing women of the symptoms of cervical cancer and encouraging them to get checked. They have been strategically placed in pubs, clubs and gyms around Calderdale,
The awareness walk, which was complected by 80 of Faye’s friends and family, including mum Eileen, started with breakfast at the Horse and Jockey in Halifax, before they made the trek to the Old Gate, Hebden Bridge. Along the route they stopped off at the Hare and Hounds, Old Town. After making their way back to the Horse and Jockey, the day ended with a buffet and a performance from ?ndecision - the official band of the foundation.
Rebecca said: “It was fantastic. It was hard work. But Faye would be very proud of what we’re doing.
“She was an amazing person and an absolute fighter, You have never seen anyone fight an illness like she did right to the last leg. She was an inspiration to everybody.”
Rebecca said the foundation would hold more events later in the year, including a summer fair and a ball. She also thanked Rob Thompson at the Horse and Jockey for hosting the event, ?ndecision for performing and everyone who took part in the walk.
Faye, who attended Calder High School in Mytholmroyd, was a dancer and choreographer on cruise ships with the Fred Olsen line
For more information about the foundation, search for “the Faye Knowles Chapman Foundation” or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The foundation is in the process of setting up a website.