Community champion Jo Scott from our Pwllheli store knows only too well the devastating impact breast cancer can have on a family – and it's why she always fully supports our Tickled Pink campaign.
Jo (who's on the left in the picture above) will be joining the hundreds of colleagues and volunteers from our charity partners Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel! who are holding collections in our stores this weekend.
She said: "I have lost so many of my family to breast cancer – my mum, grandmother, my sister and my aunt. My mother-in-law has had breast cancer and my brother died of cancer too. That’s why I’m proud to support this very worthy cause, as it is a charity close to my heart."
Thanks to the generous support of customers and colleagues we have raised more than £71 million for charity since Tickled Pink launched in 1996 – and as the charity campaign celebrates its 25th anniversary Jo says it's so important that it continues to raise awareness.
She said: "Please, please remember to check yourself – men too. Please go for your breast screening appointment when it comes through the post; there's no need to be scared. Masks are worn and PPE and you are made to feel safe. The kindness and advice from the lovely ladies is excellent.
"I had my boobs checked at the Breast Test Wales Screening Unit in Pwllheli. It only takes 10 minutes and then it was straight back to work.
"We should all remember to look after ourselves and regular checks are essential for the early detection of cancer."
Jo had a scare a few years ago when she found a lump, but it turned out to be a hairline fracture on the top of her ribs caused by an accidental kick from one of her dogs.
She said: "I was scared because of the family history and was ready for the worst news. You can worry yourself sick about some things but if you just go and get yourself checked you can find out whether it's good news or bad. If it's bad news you can get it seen to very, very quickly now – which is so important."
Jo also says it's very important to wear the correct size bra.
"You have to make sure that any lumps and bumps are serious bumps and not caused by not wearing the correct size bra," she said. "It's just something else that you must make sure you do."
Jo, who's been community champion at Asda Pwllheli since 2012, is always arranging fundraisers and collections for the campaign.
This year, she set her herself a challenge to walk 25,000 steps in a day – and racked up an amazing 408,065 steps over the course of a month.
Jo said: "I set myself a challenge after work with my dogs that I would walk 25,000 steps in a day and my family would sponsor us. It sounded easy but could I do it? Nope. I got so close, but I couldn't do it.
"No matter the weather we plodded on. I could have cheated and put my Fitbit on the cocker spaniel, but I didn't. Finally, after four weeks, I did 25,384 steps after work in one day with no cheating. So 408,065 steps later and I lost a dress size and did my challenge to myself. I'm not the fittest of people … but I never give up."
She says colleagues and customers all support Tickled Pink, and wants to thank them for their continued backing.
Jo said: "As soon as we get the pink out they are all there. We are only a small store, but we have a big heart."