A massive well done to 10-year-old Blaise Dowling who has raised more than £1,000 for our Tickled Pink campaign in support of his grandma Ann Purchase, a checkouts colleague at our Benton store, who is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.
Ann, who's 61 and has worked at the store for 14 years, said: "We all so proud of Blaise. He said he wanted to swim a mile for charity. His target was £100 but he's so far raised £1,000 which is amazing. It just kept going up. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported him.
"He did the swim at Killingworth Leisure Centre, who kindly gave us the lane free for two hours. Blaise has never swum that far before and I said to him that if he was getting tired he should stop, but he kept on going. I was there watching and he did it in an hour and five minutes.
Ann's sister, Yvonne Usher, had a Christmas craft fair and she gave half the money to Parkinson's UK and the other half, £155, to Blaise's fundraising for Tickled Pink, which raised money and awareness for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel.
Blaise called in at the store with his younger brother Otis, who's seven, to present the cheque to Ann. They're joined here by Ann's colleague Michelle Mills.
Ann, who has four children and six grandchildren, was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer after a lump was discovered during a routine mammogram.
She said: "They found a lump in July and did a biopsy. On the last day of August, when I went for my results, was when they told me it was cancer. It was horrible – a complete shock."
Ann, who lives in Cramlington, has had surgery to remove the lump from the right breast and will undergo radiation treatment in the new year.
She said: "It's scary, but I know I'm going to be okay. I''m staying positive. The service you get at the hospital is just brilliant.
"My advice to people is always check yourselves and always go for your mammogram when you're told to.
"I always support Tickled Pink in store every year. Anytime we do anything at work I buy tickets for it. We usually have a day where we wear a pink T-shirt too. Breast cancer is something that I'm so aware of through Tickled Pink, but that I never expected to be affected by.
"All my colleagues and the management at Asda Benton have been brilliant. I could not have asked to be treated any better than I have been. It's a lovely store that I work in, with lovely people."
Lisa Wharton, community champion at our Benton store, said: "It's incredible what Blaise has done. Blaise, you are inspirational! How proud your family and your grandma must be of you.
"Tickled Pink is an excellent cause, and what Blaise has done is amazing."
To sponsor Blaise, visit his fundraising page: https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/blaises-1-mile-swim?utm_campaign=sharepage&fbclid=IwAR13h7gROSJLpZrcXr5jRauxxGoU7-e5DLtaOxuLkhoOidALGOAmqYCsrrs