Gosport colleague Julie shares her breast cancer experience to support Tickled Pink

March 4, 2021

Fabulous checkouts colleague Julie Schillemore always backs our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity campaign and says it's vitally important for both men and women to check themselves regularly.

Fifty-year-old Julie, who's worked at our Gosport store for 19 years, says the Tickled Pink campaign – which is celebrating its 25th birthday this year – is a cause so close to her heart.

Julie, who is married to Gary and has two children, Alex, 30, and Nerys, 27, was first diagnosed with breast cancer on October 2013 after she discovered a lump in her right breast.

And she has this message to everyone: "If you find a lump when you are checking yourself, no matter how big it is, please go and get it checked without a doubt.

"I was in the shower and just washing myself and doing my routine checks when I discovered my lump. I thought, 'that feels different from the other one.'

"I contacted my doctor and right up until the day of the appointment I wasn't going to go because I just thought it was nothing, you know. I wasn't worried. I just thought it was a hard lump. But I did go and even my doctor thought it was just a big cyst.

"I was referred to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth for a mammogram and and ultrasound and they said there was something there and I had to have a biopsy.

"It came as a complete shock. It was every emotional and a trying day as we all just thought it would be nothing."

Julie had a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She also had her lymph nodes removed.

She said: "At the beginning you have your tears, but I just had this attitude that I'd got it and I just had to get rid of it. I think you have to have that mindset. If you dwell on it all the time it will just make you ill.

"The store was fantastic and my colleagues were brilliant sending well wishes. Some came to visit after I had my operation. Knowing that I had the support from the store helped with my recovery; it was one less thing to worry about."

Julie, who was given the all clear in July 2014, has always been a staunch supporter of our Tickled Pink campaign, which raises money and awareness for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!.

The campaign has raised £71 million since 1996 and this month we're donating £500,000 to our charity partners from the sale of selected Mother's Day products.

She said: "Tickled Pink is such a brilliant cause. I get a different T-shirt every year and always donate. Our community champion Rachel Webber is fantastic at fundraising for it and has been doing bingo nights every other month and I always support her."

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