Connect Health’s South West Essex team band together to show support for a colleague in their cancer battle

Since her diagnosis of Stage 1 Breast Cancer at the age of 35 in May last year, Natalie has been raising funds for Cancer Research, and taking on new challenges, with the help of her team in South West Essex (SWEx).

11 March 2024

In November 2023, our South West Essex team took part in a Push Up Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research in support of a colleague, Natalie Robinson, who was undergoing treatment for Stage 1 Breast Cancer. The team, who were the worthy winners of the ‘Team of the Year’ Award at the London Connect Health Colleague Excellence Awards in January 2024, took on the challenge of 100 push-ups daily, per person with the goal of raising £700 for the charity -which they smashed and instead raised over £1,200!

Natalie Robinson, Team Lead in South West Essex, told us her story:

Back in May 2023 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer at the age of 35, after finding a small lump in my left breast. Shocked is an understatement!

From there I had a number of biopsies, an MRI, and was told the best option was a mastectomy, which took place last June. I then underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy over 16 weeks.

I’m so grateful to the NHS and the services around that prompted me to regularly check for changes. This for me has been lifesaving, and I stress to everyone (including men) to regularly check your breasts, as it can make a huge difference to treatment options and prognosis.


Corey Harding, Operations Manager, said:

The challenge was tough, but we know all too well that it isn’t anywhere near as tough as what Natalie and, sadly, hundreds of thousands of people go through each year in the UK. We wanted to do this challenge to show our support for Natalie during this time and hopefully give her that additional collective strength to push her through this!


Now, Natalie has returned to her Team Lead role full time and has decided to take on a challenge herself!

Natalie tells us about this exciting opportunity:

During all of this craziness, I decided I wanted to say a huge Thank You to the staff at Basildon Breast Unit, where I received my treatment. I felt like it needed to be something to say ‘I’ve won’ to cancer, hence me deciding to take on Everest Base Camp in March 2025! The staff at the Breast Unit have been incredible, firstly for saving my life, and secondly for just being there the whole way through, keeping me sane and feeling supported at every step.

Throughout my cancer treatment the SWEx Team have been amazing. They were regularly checking in on me and they were all so lovely and supportive. I first joined Connect in 2016 and have always been part of the SWEx team, I’m like part of the furniture now! I feel very lucky to work with such amazing people.

I hope with the money I raise Basildon Breast Unit will be able to continue to support other local women and men, who may find themselves in a similar situation to myself. So far, I’ve raised over £600 but my target for the trek is £5000, so I have lots of fundraising events planned this year.


If you’d like to make a donation to Natalie’s Base Camp for Basildon Breast Unit fundraising page, visit Natalie Robinson is fundraising for Mid & South Essex Hospitals Charity (


For information on how to check your breasts, please look at the CoppaFeel website where you can understand your normal and set up reminders every month.

Visit CoppaFeel

A nation-wide charity based in SWEx, Lady McAdden, allows you to book a virtual appointment with a nurse specialist to teach you how to check and also ask about any concerns.

Visit Lady McAdden


Finally, Natalie reminds us all of the importance of checking our breasts:

My biggest ask to you is if you notice any changes, please see your GP sooner rather than later.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to the SWEx service for their ongoing love and support during this time.


The whole Connect Health team would like to wish Natalie the best of luck!