A SINGLE mum from York who is battling cancer has sent a heartfelt thank you to everyone who attended variety shows in memory of three amazing women.

Julie Blackburn, 50, who is mum to ten-year-old Henry and lives in Bishopthorpe Julie has secondary breast cancer; after initially being diagnosed back in 2015, she was diagnosed with stage 4 in 2018.

The Press first reported Julie’s story in March last year when she and her friends sent gifts to NHS staff, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year we reported how Julie, who works as an independent consultant for The Body Shop, channelled her love of all things musical theatre in to organising a family variety show to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The show The Sunshine and Happiness Show was held on three dates at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in Haxby Road last month and raised £9,500 in the end - surpassing all of Julie's wildest expectations.

Julie said: “The shows went down so well. It was a lot of hard work but it was really really worth it.

"I'm thrilled everybody loved it and said it was something they hadn't seen for a long time.

"It was a proper variety show.

"I am just so proud of everyone who took part.

"The atmosphere was amazing and it just worked.

"In the end we made £800 just from the bucket collections alone."

Julie's cancer has spread to her bones and the chemotherapy drug she's on at the moment, palbociclib, keeps her stable.

She said: “I always say ‘cancer lives with me, not that I’m living with cancer’.

"I felt on top of the world after the show. It took weeks to come down and I took months getting prepared.

Julie still has her treatment at York Hospital oncology department and can’t thank the staff there enough.

“The show was a way of helping Cancer Research UK as, like all other charities, their fundraising has hit hard by Covid,” said Julie.

The show included performances from the Rowntree Players, NE Musicals, Flying Ducks Youth Theatre and local talent, magician, Josh Benson both performed and compered the night.

The show was dedicated to Julie's two aunties, Jane Mantle and Pam Davies, and her friend, Emily Nicholson all of whom died of cancer.

There was a touching moment at the end of the performances where cast members wearing Together we will beat Cancer tops turned their backs to the audience to display their slogan while looking at images of Jane, Pam and Emily projected above the stage.