Happy Mother’s Day! Our Longwell Green store’s community champion Susan Grant says her colleague Tina Lawrence was “truly like a mum” to her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was an especially frightening time for Susan as she’d lost her own mum to breast cancer 16 years before, but Tina was a huge support through her treatment, surgery and recovery – and was one of the first to welcome her back when she returned to work at the store in Bristol.
Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2011 after a routine mammogram, and went through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and several reconstructive operations.
With Tina's encouragement and support, Susan returned to the store in December 2012. Two years ago she became the store's community champion and in that role has been a hugely passionate supporter of our Tickled Pink campaign, which raises money for Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.
Susan, who's 47, has worked at the store for 23 years. She said: "My mother passed away from breast cancer, so I made sure I had regular mammograms. During my second they found a 2cm lump in one of my breasts.
"I found it really difficult. Because of what had happened to my mum I had quite a bleak outlook. I was so ill I thought I would never get through it. I have two sons – my youngest was only seven at the time – and it was so hard.
"Tina was absolutely amazing throughout; she truly was like a mum to me. She kept telling me I would be fine and was looking forward to the day I came back to work. She would ring me and organise flowers to be sent to me.
"All colleagues feel they can talk to her like a mum. She's so kind, caring, thoughtful and friendly and brightens everyone's day – everyone loves her.
"All the colleagues here were amazing with their support, as were my husband and all my family. The consultants at Southmead Hospital were fantastic too – the support of everyone was just incredible."
Susan has undergone several operations to reconstruct her breasts after having two mastectomies. She still has regular appointments, but has been given the all-clear.
She said: "Two years ago I applied for the role of community champion and it's great to be able to support breast cancer charities through my role. I regularly join up with other community champions in the Bristol area to do various fundraising events – I'm really passionate about it."
In her spare time Susan also volunteers with BUST, the Breast Cancer Unit Support Trust. This Bristol-based charity supports the work of the Bristol Breast Care Centre at Southmead Hospital.
Tina, who's the customer trading manager at our Longwell Green store, said: "Susan's a great colleague, so when she had breast cancer we all went through it with her and supported her. Because we're a large store we've unfortunately had a few colleagues who have been affected by cancer, and we do everything we can to support them through it.
"It was wonderful to welcome Susan back – everyone had really missed her."
Tina's one of the dozens of much-loved Asda colleagues described as work mums for the way they look after everyone at their store.
Rachelle Lynne, e-commerce section leader at our Larne store, presented home shopping colleague Jacqui Hill with a bunch of flowers for Mother's Day.
Rachelle said: "Jacqui always has a smile on her face, no matter what is going on. She's always there with a listening ear for anyone who needs a chat, and does everything she can to make sure those around her are cared for.
"She takes new colleagues under her wing, helping them at every turn, and is always going above and beyond for her department and store. We are truly lucky to have her as part of the team."
At our Byker store, mum Claire Gibbins' work mum is her real mum, Suzanne.
The store's community champion Ashleigh Longstaff said: "Suzanne is fab! She's always there for her colleagues, and is more than happy to help if anyone needs support with anything."
Work mum at our Antrim store is Karen Smyth, who works in the GM department. She was left speechless when general store manager Robert Ryans presented her with a bunch of flowers.
Robert said: "Karen has been a member of the Asda Antrim team since the store opened – she’s so friendly, and a real delight to have in the store."
Our Bishop Auckland store's community champion Anne Tindale shared this picture with her work mum Denise Guyler on a walk in aid of Tickled Pink.
Anne said: "Denise is like a mum to many people in our store. She looked after me throughout my pregnancy, and is always asking about my daughter. She genuinely cares. I'm able to confide in her about everything."
Sharon McBratney, community champion at our Dundonald store, nominated Phyllis Livingstone as her work mum.
Sharon said: "Phyllis is always looking out for everyone in store, offering help whenever people need it. Everyone loves her and she is such a character, always having a giggle."
Our Gosforth store's community champion Michelle Castledine said: "I think every department here has there very own Asda mum! Linda Shears is everybody's agony aunt and is always there when needed, she would do anything for anyone. It's amazing when you think about who you work with - they're not just colleagues, they're like your family and your best friends too."
Tracey Collins, community champion at Small Heath, nominated her colleague Trisha Dean as her work mum.
Tracey said: "Trisha is a gem. She is so friendly and helpful to all our colleagues and shows true concern for others."
Christine Conway, community champion at our Nottingham West Bridgford store, said her work mum is Sue Elliot.
She said: "Sue is amazing with both colleagues and customers. She treats the customers like friends and looks after them, especially if they struggle with disabilities or are lonely."
Laura Biddulph, community champion at our Reddish store, said she has four different work mums at the store!
She said: "I'm so fortunate to have several fab colleagues who are all 'work mums' – Rukhsana Rafiq, Michelle Dixson, Diane Coupe and Beverley Duckett."
Happy Mother's Day to all the Asda mums!