Our Tickled Pink charity campaign is celebrating its 25th anniversary – and our colleagues whose lives have been affected by breast cancer say they're the living proof of how important its work is.
The campaign, which raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!, has raised £71 million since it launched in 1996, and this month we're donating £500,000 to our charity partners from the sale of selected Mother's Day products.
Our Nottingham West Bridgford store's community champion Christine Conway, who's made a great recovery after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2006, is one of the Asda colleagues wishing Tickled Pink a happy anniversary.
Christine, who's pictured above at an in-store fundraising event from 2017, said: "It makes me proud helping to raise funds and awareness for Tickled Pink as I feel I am paying back the treatment I had. Twenty five years of Tickled Pink is amazing. It has helped save lives and has made us share our experiences.
"Tickled Pink has made a huge difference. It has helped to make people aware of breast cancer and the symptoms. Even just the awareness has saved lives. The money raised has been used to advance treatment. Here in Nottingham they have a cell bank where tissue is stored for research. This is a huge resource for research.
"As a breast cancer survivor Tickled Pink has helped me connect to others. When we are collecting people talk about their own cancer. I can tell them that you can survive and be fine. We share stories and it makes it feel a bit better."
Carol Gibson, deputy store manager at our Abbey Park store in Coventry (pictured centre with colleagues Anne (left) and Rosie from our Leamington Spa store in 2018), says Tickled Pink has made a huge difference over the years.
She said: "It has raised awareness and made it OK to talk about cancer. In personal terms I was lucky enough to be put on a drug trial which really improved my outlook. Whilst I’m not sure it was specifically funded by Tickled Pink efforts it’s definitely the sort of thing made possible by the money raised.
"I am hugely proud of the amount of money raised by Tickled Pink and in absolute awe of the colleagues who run, walk, sit in baths of beans and shave their heads to support it."
Helen Middleton, a home shopping colleague from our Thornaby store, says Tickled Pink made her much more aware of what to look out for, and helped her get an early breast cancer diagnosis.
She said: "During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2019, I was personally diagnosed with breast cancer and I believe my own awareness of what to check for was definitely the result of Tickled Pink campaigns throughout the years.
"As I have now been on this journey myself to beat breast cancer it has made me even more determined to help raise awareness and encourage others to get involved too. I am looking forward to getting back to work hopefully in the coming weeks and being part of the 25th celebrations of Tickled Pink. This past year has proven we can all pull together so let's make this celebration extra special."
The campaign is particularly close to the heart of our Longwell Green store's community champion Susan Grant, who lost her mother Janet to breast cancer in 1995 and was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2011.
She said: "Tickled Pink has made a huge impact to our colleagues and customers over the years, raising awareness of breast cancer signs and symptoms and reminding everyone to check themselves regularly as this is so important in saving lives.
"Also the funding that has been raised as helped to support so many women affected by breast cancer and to also help fund pioneering research into treatments and cures.
"Tickled Pink has helped me to support others affected by breast cancer as being a survivor myself, and knowing what patients have to go through when diagnosed with this terrible disease, I just wanted to help to raise awareness and help to raise funds for breast cancer charities.
"Being a community champion in my store and supporting our Tickled Pink campaign has helped me to achieve this, and I am so very proud to be directly involved in raising awareness and money for our Tickled Pink charities. I love supporting Tickled Pink and helping others. Happy 25th anniversary, Tickled Pink!"
Linda Shears, who works in the George department at our Gosforth store, uses her personal experience with breast cancer to help others.
She said: "It’s great that colleagues can share their experiences and stories, whilst participating in fundraising for breast cancer care charities. It’s fantastic that we can dress up, (not that we need an excuse at Asda Gosforth!) to dress up, while educating colleagues and customers to check regularly. I am so proud to be part of this campaign, especially after being diagnosed with breast cancer myself in March 2013.
"It helps me share my experiences with colleagues and I love to get involved with raising money for Tickled Pink charities. I will proudly continue to support Tickled Pink and would like to say happy 25th anniversary Tickled Pink and continue to be great!"
Lisa Kelly from our South Woodham Ferrers store was inspired to check herself one day after helping raise awareness of the importance of regular checks as part of her role as an Asda community champion.
She said: "Tickled Pink has given hope to lots of men and women who have breast cancer. It gives advice and lets people know they are not on their own. It saved my life! If I hadn’t been reading how to check your breasts for the customers I might not have been here now.
"I am so thrilled I can help people first hand now and the customers like to share their experiences with me. One lady was talking to me about her cancer and when her husband came to pick her up she told him to go that she wanted to talk to me about her cancer. I felt privileged she wanted to talk to me.
"Happy 25th anniversary Tickled Pink and thank you to all those special people who are raising the awareness to this really important cause."
Angela Gidda, from our Hayes store, says Tinkled Pink has had an amazing impact on the community.
She said: "Considering that breast cancer is a very common occurrence now, Tickled Pink is not only raising awareness but also helping to diminish that fear of the C word which many people have.
"Things have moved on very much, and the treatments are effective and precise. For me personally, I feel the campaign has saved my life. If it wasn't for the posters that community champion Sam D'Souza put up in the ladies' toilets, I may not have spotted my cancer so early. I caught it at Stage 2.
"I'm really happy to be involved in the campaigns. I feel so lucky to be here and I feel it's my duty to help make people aware, it's the least I can do. Awareness is crucial and Tickled Pink is brilliant at encouraging women to do their checks and knowing what to look for.
"Thank you so much Tinkled Pink, happy anniversary! Ladies don't be scared, do your checks!"
And Catherine Gallagher, who took part in Breast Cancer Now's annual fashion show, says there's a strong connection between colleagues and customers whenever there's in-store activity supporting Tickled Pink.
Catherine, who's retired from our Farnborough store, said: "Being sited within Asda stores means it can easily raise awareness in shoppers – for example pink till receipts, bakery items, George clothing – and so it reaches the public in a way that other charity campaigns may not have done.
"It has personally helped make me understanding of other patient's breast cancer journeys. I'm at peace with my cancer, but knowing that there's support for someone with a recent diagnosis brings me comfort.I am incredibly proud to be able to help raise awareness and funds for Tickled Pink! I had so much fun with the Tickled Pink photo shoot and being a catwalk model for the Breast Cancer Now show in 2019.
"I helped raise funds in my Farnborough store but have since retired. They know that when things return to normal after Covid I will continue to help with their in-store fundraising. Happy 25th anniversary Tickled Pink! Thank you for providing hope, support and vital funds for further research into breast cancer."