VIDEO: Brave survivor Clare urges us to stand up to cancer
A cancer survivor marking five years since her diagnosis is issuing a call to arms for people in Wigan to stand up to the disease.
Clare Callaghan was diagnosed with a tumour of the uterus in August 2013.
She finished the active stage of her cancer treatment in July 2014, but is still being monitored every six months and treated for several side effects.
She is now marking the fifth anniversary of her diagnosis with a series of challenges to raise funds for charity and increase awareness of the endometrial cancer for which she was treated and which is the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK.
She is pictured posing with five wristbands on her arm to highlight the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer every hour in the North West.
This stark statistic is driving Clare, of Hawkley Hall, to support Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fund-raising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
Stand Up To Cancer raises money to speed up life-saving research and is supported by a host of celebrities including Davina McCall, Edith Bowman, Alan Carr, Joel Dommett and Kirsty Allsopp.
Clare, a former pupil of Abraham Guest High School in Orrell, knows from first-hand experience how important research is in the battle against cancer.
By sharing her experience, she hopes to rally the borough to join the fight against the disease and help save more lives.
After the diagnosis that the lining of her uterus was cancerous, Clare was treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery to remove her womb and brachytherapy at The Christie.
Although the active phase of her cancer treatment has finished, doctors have not been able to tell Clare she is completely cancer-free and she has continued to need regular three-monthly and now six-monthly check-ups, as well as treatment for some of the side-effects.
She now requires a wheelchair – affectionately known as Pedro – to get around.
Clare, who previously worked as a chaplain at a high school and college, is marking five years since her cancer diagnosis with a series of challenges.
This includes publishing a vlog, setting up a speed dating event for people who have been affected by cancer and doing a number of “day in the life” challenges.
Followers of her Keep Smiling blog on social media will also be encouraged to set challenges for her.
Clare appeared on Channel 4 as part of the Stand Up To Cancer programme sharing her cancer journey in 2014 and has twice watched the live show in London.
She said: “I’m so grateful for the treatment that saved my life. It’s thanks to research that I’m still standing.
“Statistically I shouldn’t still be here.
“That’s why I’m giving my heartfelt support to Stand Up To Cancer.
“Raising vital funds for life-saving research is a great chance to get payback on cancer.
“Everyone knows loved ones who’ve been affected.
“Whether you donate, get sponsored to wear orange from head to toe or organise your own bake sale, there are lots of ways to get involved.
“I really hope as many people as possible will get behind this vitally important campaign because together, we can wipe the floor with cancer.”
The percentage of patients diagnosed with endometrial cancer who survive more than 10 years has increased from 55 per cent in the early 1970s to around 80 per cent today.
As is often the case early detection improves a patient’s outlook.
People in Wigan are being encouraged to take a stand now by requesting a free fund-raising pack full of ideas to help beat cancer sooner.
They can also show their support for the campaign in style as a range of clothing and accessories for men, women and children - including the wristbands - is available now online and at Cancer Research UK shops from late September.
Alison Barbuti, Cancer Research UK spokesman for the North West, said: “We’re grateful to Clare for leading the charge against cancer and helping to recruit more people to the cause.
“The good news is more people are surviving than ever before, but too many lives are still cut short by this devastating disease.
“That’s why we need everyone in Wigan to stand up and help take cancer out.
“Every day our scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to beat the disease.
“But research in the lab alone won’t get us there.
“We need to raise some serious cancer-crushing cash to speed up breakthroughs from the petri dish into better treatments for patients.”
She added: “By supporting Stand Up To Cancer, people in Wigan could help to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
“The more people that join the fight now, the sooner we can beat cancer for everyone.”
Stand Up To Cancer has raised £38m since it was launched in the UK in 2012.
The funding is used for clinical trials and projects which accelerate the development of new cancer treatments and tests, to help patients and ultimately save more lives.
This year, Stand Up To Cancer will culminate with a night of live TV on Channel 4 on Friday, October 26.
To get involved visit standuptocancer.org.uk.