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Stepping up the fight to beat breast cancer
A HUSBAND who lost his wife to breast cancer has paid loving tribute in a bid to raise awareness about the disease this October.
Dorchester-born Linda Cornick passed away in April this year, aged 62.
Linda, who ‘always did as much as she could for others’, raised thousands for research to find a cure – even when she was battling cancer herself.
And since Linda’s death her family and friends have continued to fundraise for her chosen charities – granting the final wish she made.
Her husband Bob has decided to speak about the fundraising, not only as a tribute to Linda, but to praise the local carers who helped her and to raise awareness of the wonderful services available to people who are fighting the disease.
Throughout her illness, Linda had a pink Breast Cancer Care stall at Dorchester carnival, a tradition that Linda’s family and friends continued this year.
Money from the stall, as well as £3,000, which was raised at Linda’s funeral, went towards her chosen charities, including money donated by her son-in-law, Alistair’s building company, that included generous donations from his customers.
Bob said it may have come as a shock to some to have found out that Linda was fighting the disease.
As part of her active role in the community she founded the Hardy Crafters and was a member of Dorchester Moose, and continued to participate in both right up until she died.
Bob said: “She was very well liked and well-known known in Dorchester.
“But she was incredibly brave.
“If you’d seen her in the street, you would have had no idea what she was going through.
“She was brilliant. People didn’t even know she had it.”
Linda grew up in Princes Street in Dorchester and worked at Dorset County Hospital in the Diagnostic Imaging Department, where she made many life-long friends.
She met husband Bob at Weymouth Pavilion and the pair were married for 42 years.
“I used to play in a rock band,” said Bob, “and Linda would come along to the dance and that was that.”
They were married at St George’s Church in Fordington, which is where Linda’s funeral service took place.
Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago but was given the all-clear by doctors after undergoing treatment.
Sadly in 2010, just after retiring from her job of 28 years, she was given the bad news that the cancer had returned.
Linda was determined not to let it beat her and did her best to raise money to help others fighting the disease.
She took the risk to trial a new drug, Bob said, to help those who would come up against the disease in the years to come.
But routine checks by doctors to make sure she could take part flagged up an underlying heart problem. Rather than resigning to the fact that she couldn’t take part, Linda became a pioneer and had a world-first operation so she could complete the trial.
“When she went in for the test, they found she had a problem with her heart,” Bob said.
“They then decided they could fit Linda with a pacemaker so she could take part.
“It was a world-first. She was doing it so she could help others.”
Bob spoke highly of staff at the Joseph Weld Day Care Centre, where Linda attended during the last few weeks of her life.
He said: “My perception has changed. It’s a place of life, not just death.”
Linda left behind two daughters, Michelle and Sarah, and a two-year-old granddaughter, Mollie.
But she also left behind a legacy – to help find a cure for cancer – which, said Bob, is ‘hopefully a step closer every day.
• See your GP if you are worried
Emma Pennery, clinical director at Breast Cancer Care, right, told the Echo: “Whatever your age, size or shape it’s important to take care of your breasts.
“There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts – the most important thing to do is look at and feel them regularly.
“Getting used to looking at yourself in the mirror as well as touch, can be a good way to help you get to know what’s normal for you so you can quickly notice any unusual changes. “It’s important to check all parts of your breast, including your armpits and up to your collarbone.
“You should look for any changes in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling, redness or a rash, a change in the position or shape of your nipple, or a change in the size or shape of your breasts.
“You should also look and feel for any lumps or thickening, any discharge from your nipples and constant pain or swelling in your breast or armpit.
“Making a habit of looking at your breasts in the mirror when you get out of the bath or shower or when getting dressed can be a good way to help you spot any visible changes.
“This is especially useful if you lift your arms above your head so that you can easily see all parts of your breasts.
“The vast majority of breast cancers are found by women and men themselves so taking care of your breasts is really important.
“Most changes won’t turn out to be breast cancer, but don’t be scared of talking to your GP or delay going, as the sooner the diagnosis, the more effective treatment may be.”
If you have any questions Breast Cancer Care’s free, confidential Helpline is here to help on 0808 800 6000 or you can find out more at www.breastcancercare.org.uk.
• Survivors' plea: Get checked out
TWO friends and survivors from Weymouth are urging people to check, check and check again when it comes to spotting the signs.
Cindy Short, who found out she had breast cancer after friend Annemarie Male was diagnosed, said too many women ‘ignore’ possible symptoms. She added: “I think women don’t want to know – they think it’s not going to affect them. I didn’t think I would ever get breast cancer. Since I was diagnosed a lot of people I know have gone ahead and got a mammogram.
“Because mine was caught early I only had to undergo radiotherapy and not chemotherapy.
“The earlier your diagnosis, the better your chances.
“Don’t ignore it, don’t bury your head in the sand.”
Annemarie, who has undergone chemotherapy, warned women to ‘pay attention’ to their bodies after her cancer went undiscovered for two years.
She said women shouldn’t be frightened to trouble their GP after hers asked why she didn’t go to see them sooner.
She said: “Get checked out – it could be nothing, it could be something. But it’s far better to sort the problem out sooner rather than later.
“There are lots of symptoms, not just a lump – you might be tired all the time or have stabbing pains in your armpit. “It is scary, for every woman out there, and mentally the experience will stay with you for the rest of your life, but you can’t bury your head in the sand.
“We are so lucky to have free healthcare in this country and to be able to walk in to a number of different NHS centres and say: ‘I need this checked.’ “Don’t forget that and if you are worried, get checked out.”
• Breast cancer facts
• The biggest risk factor, after gender, is increasing age – 80 per cent of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.
• Breast cancer also affects men – around 400 are diagnosed each year.
• Breast cancer is not one single disease, there are several types of breast cancer.
• Not all breast cancers show as a lump, and not all breast lumps are breast cancer.
• Less than 10 per cent of all breast cancers run in families, so having someone in your family with breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean your own risk is increased.
• Every year nearly 55,000 people are diagnosed in the UK. That’s the equivalent of 150 people every day or one person every 10 minutes.
• One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
• Nearly 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year.
• Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the UK, after lung cancer.
• Of adults aged between 25-49, breast cancer accounts for 45 per cent of all female cancers.
• There are an estimated 550,000 people living in the UK today who have had breast cancer.
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