Brave East Lothian mum appeals for donations to Cancer Research charity shops as retail reopens after lockdown

An East Lothian mum recovering from a double mastectomy is urging people to help Cancer Research UK charity shops get back to business after lockdown.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 7:00 am

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As restrictions on non-essential retail were lifted today , staff and volunteers began the task of trying to claw back millions of pounds in lost sales.

And 29-year-old Lisa Bancroft appealed for people trying to de-clutter to drop off donations at their local store to help fund research.

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Cancer Research UK shop assistant Lisa Bancroft is recovering from a double mastectomy

Lisa knows first-hand how important new breakthroughs and discoveries are to help more people survive.

In November 2019, she discovered she is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which significantly increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers at an early age.

She decided the best option for her was to undergo major preventative surgery.

“The alternative was to be screened for cancer more frequently and take a low level chemotherapy tablet as a precaution. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to cope with the constant anxiety. I was paranoid enough about having cancer already, worrying about imaginary lumps and bumps. With my little girl to look after, I just wanted to reduce my risk as soon as possible.”

Lisa, from Port Seton, works at the Cancer Research UK in Haddington

Lisa had the first of two operations for a double mastectomy at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital in June last year and the second, which included breast reconstruction, in September.

“Being a single mum to a then two-year-old girl was hard because I couldn’t lift anything for six weeks,” she recalls.

“But my mum and step-dad were with us every step of the way which was so helpful. My colleagues in the Haddington Cancer Research UK shop were also so understanding – it felt even more important to be working there.”

Big-hearted Lisa has since started a podcast, Instagram post and a charity to support others who are coming to terms with living with the BRCA gene mutation. She launched charity BRCA Chat with fellow BRCA survivor Christen Williams who also opted for preventative surgery.

“It’s thanks to improved understanding of the reasons why people are diagnosed with cancer that I’m still here today, enjoying more precious time with Emma,” added Lisa. “So it was terrible to see Cancer Research UK shops have to close again. It’s upsetting to think about less money being available for research and what this could mean for the future.

“I hope people across Scotland will be inspired by the charity’s commitment to carry on beating cancer and put their lockdown tidying to good use – they really could help to save lives.”

Cancer Research UK says every bag of donated items can raise up to £25, or £31 with Gift Aid if the donor is a UK taxpayer.

Area trading manager Anna Granholm said: “Covid-19 has hit us hard. Our shops typically contribute more than £25 million each year to vital research.

“We’re calling on everyone who’s had a spring-clean, wardrobe detox or cupboard clear out in lockdown to please bag up and bring in any unwanted items.

“Right now, we need quality clothing and shoes, ideally for this season, as well as homeware, books and accessories to help keep our tills – and bargain hunters – busy. Most important of all, the sale of these items helps to ensure we can keep making progress for people with cancer.”

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