Our Pink Week Story – by Sarah Collins of Manchester’s NOOW17 Netball Team

We are proud to once again be dedicating a game to Cancer Research UK – and their fight against this cruel and all too common disease. At our game on Saturday against Surrey Storm we want you to wear pink and to donate to help the charity’s work.

To highlight the importance, here’s Sarah Collins from Manchester’s NOOW17 Netball Team with their story:


I want to tell you about Breast cancer awareness and netball in Manchester. What you need to take away from this whole true story is to ensure that you and the ladies in your life, forever more #FEELONTHE4TH!

My best friend Sophie Southworth was diagnosed on the 4th July 2017 with Breast cancer. <remember the date> She had spotted a lump when in the shower, got it checked out and was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 2. On the night she told us we very upset and shocked, as was she understandably. It took her 2 days to even tell us. However Sophie and our friends have a little whats-app group called PMA. It stands for Positive Mental Attitude. It’s made up of a number of strong fabulous females from all walks of life. It’s our ‘cyber’ Girl crew. It’s unique, it’s empowering, it fixes anything and knows… probably everyone!

So this PMA group decided that we weren’t playing the Cancer game, we said no, we are not having it, it isn’t happening, Not On Our Watch. NOOW. The PMA group supported Sophie from diagnosis and to this day, with love, positivity, glittery wigs, Chemo day surprises, and a fabulous Fluffy dressing gown to name but a few things! And then Sophie told us something that she wanted us to do. For her. She asked that on the 4th day of every Month we check ourselves for Breast Cancer! So on the fourth day of every month we have a good old feel. #FEELONTHE4TH was born. Not only that, but when you talk about #Feelonthe4th and it’s origins, EVERY woman you tell then has to tell 4 other women. As YOU now have to do now …. Stop reading this a minute, put it in your phone, in your reminders on the 4th….. Feel on the 4th.

So we had our sub-girls crew. The majority of the crew are sporty, and a good number are Netballers. So the NOOW17 Netball team was forged. Not On Our Watch, 17 as Sophies diagnosis was 4th of July 2017. And then we ordered the kit! Our local bar CraftBrew, at the Lowry Outlet Mall kindly donated sponsorship to our cause. Kukri agreed to do a good price for the Dresses and we decided to shout about the need to feel, with each aspect of the design. So have a look at the dresses. Breast Cancer Awareness Pink, the pink ribbon connoting breast cancer awareness. Manchester Bees, the symbols to show our love and support for the 22 killed in the Manchester attack at the arena. These symbols are close to our hearts as Mancunians they make up the body of the dress front and back.

On the front there are hands grabbing the boobs. It’s there for all to see! Get those hands on your boobs and feel. On the back, if you manage to get a glimpse of our sexy asses…. Well the message is loud and clear… yup you got it #FEELONTHE4TH. So when we all walk in, 7 ladies strolling on court with a pair of hands over our boobs, well how much clearer can we be?

But that isn’t where the story ends. One of our ‘crew’ Joanna, did her usual feel on the fourth, July 2018 a year after Sophies diagnosis. And she found a bump on her boob. It wasn’t there last month? She looked more closely and it was a mole. She went straight to the Drs, who sent her straight for a biopsy. It was cancerous. Skin cancer. Back in to hospital and a larger chunk is taken from Joanna’s boob and some lymph nodes from under her arm. Opportunity to get new boobs was said once or twice (PMA) …. Joanna 3 months later got the all clear and now is called in for regular check-ups. As well as that two other women who followed the message of #Feel on the 4th found lumps. They were not cancerous.

Back to Sophie. She had chemo, it was a tough time. She lost her hair but never her sparkle. She had a mastectomy and is now awaiting a reconstruction. Her left boob is perfect after a few nips and tucks. She had a ‘fair pair’ and they needed to maybe take them down a bit. When the right one is rebuilt, none of us are going on holiday with her anymore. Her beautiful blonde hair is growing back. Her smile is as beautiful as it ever was, as is she. She makes it her mission to encourage us all, to feel EVERY month, not just when you hear of a fellow sister having the disease.
So that is our story of Breast cancer awareness and netball in Manchester. Please, please pick up your phone and go to the 4th of next month. Type in #FEELONTHE4th and add ‘repeat monthly’. Don’t leave us any earlier than you should. Go spread the word and get feeling. Now please go and tell 4 other females.

Oh and if you play in the Simple league at the Manchester Velodrome, see you on court!

Lots of LOVE the PMA & NOOW17 crew. Manchester xxx

Click here for more on the work of Cancer Research UK >>