Checkouts colleagues Jackie Thompson, Barbara Kram and Margaret Nicholas from our South Shields store – who have recently all had breast cancer – can't stress enough the importance of self-checking your breasts and also attending routine mammogram appointments.
The trio, who are now all back at work, are staunch supporters of our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity appeal which raises awareness and money for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!
Fifty-nine-year-old Margaret, who's worked at the store for 23 years, went for a routine breast screening a year ago and she was told something wasn't right in her left breast.
She said: "It was a shock, but I was as cool as a cucumber about the whole thing when they told me, as they were were so helpful and I knew I was going to get sorted. Other people have different reactions, but I was grateful that I had the system at my disposal to help me.
"My cancer was small, but very aggressive. There was no evidence of it at all in the routine checks that I did. I would never have known it was there unless I'd gone for my mammogram."
Margaret had a lumpectomy last November to remove what she calls "the evil little gremlin" and underwent a course of radiation treatment.
She said: "I've got the all-clear now and I'm fine; I just have to take medication for the next four and a half years. My advice to people is to do the self checking but always, always go for your mammogram. If you get a letter to go, definitely go."
Margaret who's married to Dennis and has two children and two granddaughters, said: "The support from everyone here was brilliant – we're a great gang."
Sixty-one-year-old Jackie, who's worked at the store for 18 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before her 60th birthday.
She said: "I had gone for a routine mammogram, like I always do. I had checked myself but there were no signs, or lumps or anything.
They removed the cancerous tissue and had radiotherapy. She's now on cancer medication for the next five years too.
Jackie, who has a grown-up daughter, is very philosophical about her diagnosis. "It could have been a lot worse, but thankfully it was caught early," she said.
"My message to people out there is to get more mammograms. It's vitally important. It's not invasive in any way – it's painless and you are in and out within minutes. It could save your life at the end of the day. And please always check yourself too, which I have always done.
"The Tickled Pink campaign which we do in store is marvellous, amazing. We need to do as much fundraising as possible."
Barbara, who's 67 and has worked for Asda for seven years, was diagnosed with breast cancer last September after again going for a routine mammogram.
She said: "The cancer was quite deep, and not near the surface. If I hadn't have gone for the mammogram I would never have found it – that's why it's so important to go when you get the letter. Don't be embarrassed, just go.
"Thankfully, it was caught very early. I kept very positive and upbeat about it as I knew I was in good hands and I got a lot of reassurance."
Barbara, who has two grown-up children and two grandchildren, had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation therapy.
She said: "Colleagues here have all been brilliant and supported me through it."
The store's community champion Mavis Maughan, who organises the fundraising for Tickled Pink in store, said: "If one person reads this and thinks that they might have something wrong and does something about it that could save a life it was worth them telling their story. Get checked out!"