A WARRINGTON businesswoman is issuing a call to arms for people to help give hope to future generations this World Cancer Day.
Sam Self is encouraging everyone to raise money for life-saving research by donating and wearing a Cancer Research UK Unity Band on Friday, February 4 – which also marks the charity’s 20th anniversary.
The 45-year-old, who lives in Grappenhall and is married to Ed, lost both her mum and brother to cancer.
She has volunteered for Cancer Research UK for more than five years. Pre pandemic she gave up most weekends in spring and summer to host Race for Life, Pretty Muddy and Shine events across the whole of the North West and North Wales.
Sam was inspired to give up her time after her family was hugely impacted by cancer. Her mum Jacque Self was diagnosed with ovarian cancer more than 20 years ago. She underwent six months of chemotherapy and then went into remission. However, five years later Jacque became unwell again, the cancer had come back and she died aged 63 in 2005.
Just two years later, Sam’s brother Andrew Self, who was only aged 30, became unwell with flu like symptoms. The family was devastated when Andrew was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
Sam moved to Essex to take Andrew to hospital appointments and spend time with him. He had six months of chemotherapy and responded well. But just two months later Andrew relapsed. He had chemotherapy once again and doctors were preparing him for a stem cell transplant, but he became so ill and weak that he made the decision to stop all treatment. Andrew died in 2008.
A lot of other members of Sam’s family have also faced a cancer diagnosis, including her dad Robin Self who is being treated for prostate cancer.
Sam, who runs her own jewellery business as well as working for the Royal College of GPs, said: “I would never want anyone to go through the same heartache that our family faced with my mum and brother.
“That’s why I want everyone to get one of Cancer Research UK’s Unity Bands. Wearing one is such a simple way to show solidarity with people affected by the disease, whilst also raising vital funds.”
Available in three different colours – pink, navy and blue – a Unity Band can be worn in memory of a loved one, to celebrate people who’ve overcome cancer or in support of those going through treatment.
In the North West, around 44,900 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.*
Sam added: “So many lives are touched by cancer and, following the impact of the pandemic, it’s as urgent an issue now as it’s ever been. New discoveries and breakthroughs are crucial to help save more lives in the future.”
Marked on February 4, World Cancer Day is an international initiative, uniting people across the globe to take action against the disease. For Cancer Research UK the awareness day takes on extra significance this year, as it celebrates its 20th birthday.
While the charity was formed in 2002, its history dates back to the founding of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1902. Its work has been at the heart of some of the biggest developments in cancer, from radiotherapy to some of the most used cancer drugs around the world today.
And now the cutting-edge research it funds has helped lead to more people than ever in the UK surviving their cancer for 10 years or more.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Warrington, said: “As we mark our anniversary this World Cancer Day, we want to say a heartfelt thank you to Sam and people across the North West for their incredible commitment to the cause.
“Thanks to our supporters, we’ve achieved so much. Every day we see the benefits of research we’ve previously funded being realised, helping people live longer and healthier lives.
“1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime, and so we will never stop striving to create better treatments for tomorrow. That’s why we hope everyone will wear a Unity Band with pride – knowing they are helping to save and improve lives for generations to come. We’ve come so far. And we will go much further. Together we will beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK spent around £33m last year in the North West on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
Unity bands are available at the Cancer Research UK shop in Sankey Street, Warrington and online at cruk.org/worldcancerday for a suggested donation of £2.