When Eve Went found she was suffering from a rash and slight weakness, she never imagined it was the start of two years of acute illness.

Diagnosed with the rare immune illness Dermatomycitis and then breast cancer, Eve spent five months in hospital in 2004, was unable to walk and developed life-threatening septicaemia twice.

It was a life-changing experience for her, and Eve was determined to do something to help others facing severe health issues.

"I was fortunate to access private healthcare," explains Eve, 64.

"I had a lot of friends in the area and a lot of support. A lot of people that I met didn't have that. I thought 'we need to do something for those people'.

"It was basic – there weren't even coffee machines in the hospital at the time. People were taking three buses to get to the hospital for a 15-minute radiotherapy appointment. People were having to go to Dorchester to have bras fitted after a mastectomy, the gowns were awful, the machines didn't have foam supports to hold people in place. There was a lot of local need."

Eve joined forces with some of the local nurses to host a fundraising event in aid of Cancer Research UK in 2007. But she continued to feel guilty that the money had gone into "a big pot", rather than directly to the needs of local people.

"So we had another discussion," she says. "We thought if we had raised this money, why couldn't we start a charity? I just had this drive that I should do something."

In 2012, Eve jointly founded the Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF), specifically to support local people living with cancer through financial grants for things such as electricity bills, new washing machines, petrol, household bills and mortgages as well as holistic treatments and short breaks.

"Speed was the big thing," she says. "It's very much controlled by consultants. It's very efficient. If you make an application it has to be backed up. But it's dealt with as quickly as possible.

"Most of the money comes from things like coffee mornings and events. We are getting more and more applications, so there's more and more fundraising. There's more pressure and it's increasing all the time."

The charity was boosted by the support of AFC Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn, who was so impressed with its work that he agreed to become one of the organisation's patrons, alongside fellow football boss Harry Redknapp.

But the pressure grew immeasurably once again when Eve, who lives in Poole, was diagnosed with cancer for a second time 18 months ago.

Not wanting the charity to suffer, she came up with the idea of recruiting local ambassadors, each to represent and be responsible for raising money for their local community. DCCF now boasts 24 such ambassadors, and mother-of-two Eve, who has now recovered once again, is hoping to extend the scheme to the younger generation during 2020.

She is also exploring proposals to roll out the charity's format to other parts of the country, so that other counties could set up their own Cancer Care Foundations.

As the charity celebrates its fifth successful year, Eve is thrilled to be able to reflect on just how far it has come in that short time.

"We never, in the first two-and-a-half years, were strong enough to have people that would come back and do something for us. But now it's incredible because a lot of the applicants that have got funding from us, they get together and try and raise some money for someone else. That's something we never even thought would happen.

"The need is still there. Probably even more so but in different ways and different things. When we started, there were people that needed special equipment, but now people just need money to live and to pay their rent. But we are growing.

"It's just really rewarding when you can see that people have been struggling and you've made their life a little bit easier."