Brave breast cancer survivor and Pink Lady Geraldine McGurk is urging local women to make the most of screening services offered by charity Action Cancer.
Geraldine, who beat cancer six years ago, made the plea as local supermarket Long’s Supervalu launched a campaign to raise £10,000 for Action Cancer in just seven weeks.
Geraldine, who has thrown her support behind the local supermarket chain, said: “My breast cancer was discovered when I was called for routine screening. Thankfully, it was caught in time, and after an operation to remove the lump and some radiotherapy, I am fighting fit again!
“The experience has made me an advocate of early detection and this is why the Big Bus is so important – it really saves lives. Please take action, donate towards the Big Bus fundraising campaign. It could save your life one day.”
The Rosemount mother and grandmother explained how her own cancer was diagnosed: “Six years ago I was called by the NHS for a routine mammogram. As a result I was called back the following week for further investigation. I was concerned but not overly worried.
“My sister came with me for the second mammogram and we were asked to wait until the results were processed. The doctor wasn’t happy with the outcome and wanted to carry out a biopsy. Again I waited for the results. They had found a small tumour – the size of my fingernail.
“It would have been extremely hard to find by touch. The doctor explained this all matter-of-fact. I couldn’t speak. I considered the prognosis to be a death sentence. I was given a date for my operation a fortnight later.
“That week my breast cancer nurse came to my home to explain everything to help prepare me. Although it was still a shock it really did help me understand what was coming next.”
Geraldine said she was “wrecked with nerves” when the time came for her surgery. “As well as removing the cancer site they also removed some lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread.
“It seemed like I was always waiting for something. Luckily this news came back positive – it hadn’t spread. I then needed a course of radiotherapy.
“If I hadn’t gone for a breast screening I don’t know where I would be now. It’s so important to go when called and I would urge everyone to do so. Please take action and be breast aware. I did and it saved my life.”
Geraldine is throwing her support 100% behind the Long’s Supervalu campaign.
The stores in Newbuildings, Woodburn, Eglinton, Greenhaw Road, Strand Road, along with Head Office, Bakery, and Fresh Food production at Maydown, are all running special fundraising events, including the chance to win beautiful hampers in the run up to Easter.
The store staff are getting heavily involved, running individual events. Staff at Newbuildings will be taking part in an in-store exercise challenge, while Strand Road staff and the rest of the group will be running a car boot sale on Sunday 15th April at Greysteel. One brave staff member at Eglinton will be waxing his legs, and some staff are doing a sponsored walk in a bid to raise money. Greenhaw Road staff are doing a supermarket bag pack, and Head office staff are organising a Saturday car wash.
The final event will be a staff Ten Pin bowling challenge at the Brunswick Super Bowl on Thursday 3rd May, starting at 7pm. The Grand Raffle Draw will also take place on the night.
The Big Bus has been a frequent visitor to the North West over the years, paying almost 120 visits to the area. 28,000 people all over Northern Ireland have made use of service since 2006 - more than 10,000 men and women have had a MOT health checks carried out on the bus and 16,000 women aged 40-49 and 70+, who fall outside the NHS screening age, have been screened for breast cancer. Four new cancers are detected every month on the unit.
For more information on the Big Bus contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344 or visit www.actioncancer.org
Forthcoming Big Bus Visits to Derry: 27 March – Galliagh Women’s Group, St Josephs Church, Fairview Road,
29 March – Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership, Brook Park Leisure Centre, Rosemount Avenue, and 4 April – Derry Well Women, 155 Creggan Road, Derry.