'If it wasn't for Tickled Pink I wouldn't be here' – Karen's emotional reason for sponsored silence

September 14, 2021

A big well done to our usually chatty colleague Karen Owens who completed a 12-hour sponsored silence to raise money and awareness for our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity campaign.

Her friends at the store made cue cards for her to explain to customers at her checkout why she couldn't talk to them and Karen said: "I was a wee bit nervous because I like chatting, and also because I didn't want to mess up, but I was also a wee bit excited because it's raising money for an important cause.

"Tickled Pink hits home each year because so many people have either had breast cancer or know someone who's had it so they are very generous in their support and it's quite heartwarming to see the response."

It's a cause that's particularly close to Karen's heart, because this year marks 10 years since she had her own breast cancer diagnosis. She's since made a great recovery, and believes she has a lot to be grateful to Tickled Pink for.

Karen said: "I am doing fine at the moment and I'm ecstatic that I got to that milestone. It's been quite an emotional time, particularly with the 25th anniversary of Tickled Pink and my own 10th anniversary.

"If it hadn't been for people who did their own fundraising activities, organised tombolas, and the generous people who support them I wouldn't be here.

"The money raised makes a huge difference – and I'm the living proof of the progress made over the years, as I was the lucky recipient of the life-saving treatment and care that Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel! support."

Karen has so far raised £616 from her sponsored silence thanks to the generous support of customers and colleagues at the store.

She said: "I am so grateful to everyone who puts their hand in their pocket to support Tickled Pink. I am very lucky to be on the receiving end of that with the excellent treatment I had.

"Tickled Pink is absolutely amazing and everyone gets on board and gets involved because all of us know how much this matters."

Karen, who's 52, started working at the store eight years ago, soon after her treatment. She said: "I really enjoy my job and love working with the people here, as they're such a great bunch of people.

"There are lots of regular customers that come in here and people who I know because I live nearby in Dalgety Bay."

Karen is married to Neil and has three children, Caitlin, Cara and Ciaran. She says their support has been a huge help.

She said: They have been a great support – they have really been there for me and I couldn't have asked for more. They inspire me to keep going every day."

The store's community champion Alana Brown says all Karen's colleagues are so proud of her. She said: "She loves conversations, our Karen, so a sponsored silence is far from easy for her. She's a lovely lady and it's a great thing she's done.

"It's been a hard year for fundraising because of the pandemic, so things like this which make people have a laugh are a great way to restart activities to raise money and awareness."

The store's ambient manager Andrea Wilkinson said: "Karen did an amazing job and everyone in the store is so proud of her. Because she's a service host she has a lot of interactions with customers, so this wasn't an easy challenge for her at all ... and that's before you take into account how much she loves to talk to people!"

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