Look out for pink till receipts in our stores spreading the message about the importance of regularly checking yourself for signs of breast cancer. Here Kim Kilgour, who's worked at our Carlisle store for 15 years, writes about her breast cancer diagnosis and why she's so passionate about this cause...
I wish I could get a megaphone, stand up on the checkouts and shout about the message for women – and men – to regularly check themselves. I can't stress it enough.
I work on the checkouts, so I absolutely love seeing the pink till receipts we've got at the moment with a message supporting Asda's Be Your Breast Friend campaign reminding people.
They catch your eye and, from that, conversations start about why we've got them and how important it is to check yourself. If just one person checks themselves because of them, they've done their job.
Even before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was always aware of the risks, and I've always told my daughter Kira to check herself regularly. I've also told my son Joel to check himself because men can get breast cancer too.
I was approaching my 50th birthday in 2016 when I got out of the shower and found a lump in my breast which just didn't feel normal.
I was having physio for my multiple sclerosis at the time, which was already affecting my speech, eyesight and mobility, and at my next appointment I told the physio about the lump. She told me to phone the doctor straight away.
I saw the doctor, went to the hospital for a biopsy, and was diagnosed within a couple of weeks – everything happened so quickly. It was grade three cancer and had spread to my lymph nodes, so I had to have those taken out, and had a lumpectomy too.
In January 2017 I started my chemotherapy, and had six sessions of that – in between getting sepsis – then 20 sessions of radiotherapy. I was treated at Cumberland Infirmary and the team there were absolutely brilliant. They were so supportive and nothing was too much trouble for them.
There was so much information to take in; it was like I was driving a really fast car, and the signposts were flying past without me having a chance to read them.
I love working for Asda, so I wanted to get back to work as soon as I could. I couldn't have got through things without my colleagues Tim Wallace and Nyree Doyle. They held me when I cried, and made me laugh when I wanted to cry. Kira and Joel were amazing too – they were my chemo buddies.
I had a hip operation last August, but I still got involved in the Tickled Pink stepathon we organised at the store. I also did a 5k race for Cancer Research. I walked as far as I could, then Kira pushed me along in a wheelchair, although I made a point of walking over the finishing line. That was a very, very emotional day.
It's five years from diagnosis until you're officially in remission. I've been clear for two and a half years so far and I have to go back for tests every year until the five-year mark. Everything has come back clear so far.
With everything I've been through, I do get tired, but I won't let things beat me. I've fought the hardest fight of my life and I'm still here, still positive and still smiling.
"Kim's an inspiration – she's absolutely fantastic. We've been friends for years and she would do anything for anybody.
"She's had so much to deal with and she's a great advocate for checking yourself. She's always reminding people about it and everyone at the store is supporting her by telling everyone who'll listen why it matters so much."
Asda Tickled Pink: The Be Your Breast Friend initiative to encourage more people to check themselves is part of our Tickled Pink breast cancer charity campaign for Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now. Find out more at asda.com/tickled-pink and take a look at handy tips for how to check yourself here.