Bakery colleague Lisa Farley from our Gosforth store is backing our initiative of putting signs and symptoms of bowel cancer on our Shades and Just Essentials toilet roll packaging in support of Bowel Cancer UK’s #GetOnARoll campaign.
Lisa, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year, said: "It's so important to get awareness out there. I know mine was a different sort of cancer, but the message is still the same.
"If you see any blood on the tissue or anything that's not normal for you when you go to the loo get yourself checked. It's so important to catch it in time."
Lisa, who started at the store in 1994, said: "At first they thought it was cystitis and I was put on antibiotics. It was during the pandemic so it was often difficult to be seen. Then I saw a different GP who said it had been going on too long and referred me to hospital."
Doctors found a cancerous tumour and had it removed before Lisa started chemotherapy last summer. She later had her bladder removed and now has a stoma.
She said: "I was so shocked when I found out, because I was on my own due to the pandemic. It was awful.
"I have to go for a scan now every six months and I've just had one recently and everything was fine."
Lisa, who's 49 and has a partner, Andrew, who works at our Gateshead store, said: "The Asda toilet roll campaign on bowel cancer is brilliant. I fully support it."
Asda Gosforth store manager Chris Barber said the whole store supported Lisa.
He said: "Lisa is a lovely colleague and after her treatment she returned to work on a phased return, easing herself back into her role in the bakery.
"She had 100% support from all of the management team and we all wish her well and will always be here for her."
Alan Lattimer from Lisa's team, said she was a good dear friend to everyone on the department. He said: "I visited her while she received her treatment which was hard as we were in and out of lockdown at the time. We are all proud of her – it's made her a stronger person and she should be proud of herself."
And the store's community champion Michelle Castledine said: "Listening to how her colleagues looked after her while going through what she went through is very humbling. I know her battle and how brave she is. She's amazing."
We have teamed up with Bowel Cancer UK to include the potentially life-saving information, together with a QR code for customers to find out more, on our own label Shades and Just Essential ranges from early autumn. We sell over 42 million packs a year to households across the UK.
In addition, we are donating £50,000 to the charity to help fund future initiatives to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.