Together Gentoo staff, including Andrea Loraine-Maughan, 44, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2014, are calling on men, women and children across Wearside to pick up a Unity Band and wear it with pride on February 4.
They are joining leading cancer charities Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation, who have joined forces for World Cancer Day. Together, their aim is to unite the nation and help transform the lives of millions of people affected by the disease.
Collectively, the four charities touch the lives of millions of people across the North East every year through their individual work in the prevention, detection, treatment and support of those affected by cancer.
Andrea, Neighbourhood Support Officer, knows only too well the importance of cancer research having been treated for the disease in 2014.
The mum of two said: “I found a lump in my right breast when I was in the shower and went straight to my GP for an emergency appointment. I was referred for a mammogram and also had biopsies. My mum and dad came with me. When I got the results three days later, the consultant came in the room he said there was no easy to way to say it and the results showed it was cancer. We couldn’t believe it and my mum was sure they’d given us someone else’s results.”
Andrea, from Roker, has been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and will take the hormone therapy drug Tamoxifen, which was developed by Cancer Research UK, for the next five years to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.
Andrea, who is proud to wear the Unity Band which represents strength in unity, said: “The last three rounds of chemotherapy was horrendous but I knew I had to keep going as I wanted rid of cancer. Having been through cancer I now share my story at Gentoo and with customers to help encourage people to be cancer aware. The earlier someone can be diagnosed the better.”
Sharing the importance of cancer awareness is something her colleagues at Gentoo also take seriously and through its support for charity partner Cancer Research UK they have provided awareness roadshows and talks to staff showing them how to spot the signs and symptoms and how to prevent the disease.
Michelle Haste, Gentoo Employee Wellbeing Manager, said: “At Gentoo we take our partnership with Cancer Research UK very seriously. Not only have we raised over £10,000 for the charity through different fundraising activities but we have been able to inform our staff about prevention and early diagnosis.
“Supporting World Cancer Day is another way we will be uniting against cancer and the unity bands have been sent out to all of our offices so staff and members of the public can get their band and join together on February 4.”
The Unity Bands are available from each charity in their own colours at www.worldcancerday.co.uk for a suggested donation of £2. All money raised from the Unity Bands will go towards the charities’ individual research projects and support services.
The Cancer Research UK unity bands are available at all Gentoo offices.