Fiona Edwards first started selling her homemade tablet in 2003, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, her sweet treats have raised an incredible £92,500 to fund research into the disease, including £4500 in 2021.
Covid-19, however, has frustrated her efforts to hit the £100,000 mark as the figure raises last year is considerably down on the money Fiona would have expected to raise in a year prior to the pandemic, when she made two batches of tablet for sale daily.
Government restrictions and the Covid-hastened move to a cashless society have supressed her total since then.
Now, as she approaches her 20th anniversary, Fiona feels the time is right to hang up her apron. But not until she has hit that vital £100,000 mark which has long been her target.
She has set up a JustGiving page where long-term customers, breast cancer charity supporters and other members of the community can donate to help her get over the line in what is likely to be another challenging year for fundraisers.
Fiona, who has previously won awards recognising her tireless efforts, said: “The reason I started making and selling the tablet was because I wanted something to give to people who donated, but now it’s getting harder and harder to raise money in this way, so I’ve decided to look at new avenues.
“The whole thing grew and grew over the years. I raised £9,500 in 2019, which was my best ever year, but then Covid hit and I haven’t managed to match that in the last two years combined. I’m well known in the local running community for selling tablet at big races but there weren’t any I could go to last year.
“My local fitness club was another place where I had a lot of customers, but they no longer take cash so all the members just bring cards now. I’ve still managed to make some money trekking round youth football matches on Saturdays and Sundays and selling to parents on the sidelines, but it’s the same story there.”
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fionaedwards10.
Fiona added: “If I had a penny for every person that has said to me ‘you need to get a card machine’ then I would have so much money for breast cancer research that I wouldn’t need to slave away making tablet! The problem is that the card provider would take a cut out of every sale and I really couldn't bear that as every penny goes into my fund.
“I have long thought that either 20 years or £100,000 would be a good place to stop so, with the difficulties in place now, 2022 will likely be my last year. I would dearly love to hit my target before I stop though so hopefully people won’t mind donating without getting a bag of tablet for their money!”
The £4500 Fiona raised in 2021 will allow the team involving Jane Macaskill at the University’s School of Medicine to sustain and develop their research database as well as helping to meet the costs of new Contrast Enhanced Mammography technology.
Jane, who is also Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Ninewells Hospital, said: “The fact that Fiona has continued to raise significant sums in such difficult times is fantastic, and we are very grateful for her ongoing support at a time when the charities which fund research have experienced a considerable drop in income.
“Fundraising of this nature is extremely important to the work we do, and the money that Fiona has generated helped support a number of pieces of research into breast imaging and cancer published by our team in the past year.”