STAFF at a Durham shop are pledging to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life this year in memory of loved ones they’ve lost to the disease and they are calling on local women to join them and sign up in January to take advantage of a 30% discount.

Cancer Research UK Durham shop manager Rosemary Fowler, assistant manager Rachel Clark, 31, and shop volunteers Margi Kemp, 64, and Jen Hill, 59, are joining forces and declaring their personal motivations for registering for the Race for Life 5k event at St Leonards Sports Fieldson Sunday 1 July.

Each of the team has lost at least one member of their family to cancer and they know all too well the devastating impact the disease has on somebody’s life.

Rachel, who has been working in the shop in Prince Bishop’s Shopping Centre for just over a year, saw her mum diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a teenager.

She said: “She underwent treatment for breast cancer having a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but sadly the cancer returned and spread to her brain and liver. She died when I was just 15 years old.

“It was incredibly difficult and it still is, but I’ve taken part in Race for Life a few times to try and do my bit to help and then this job at Cancer Research UK came up and I knew I wanted to do more to help the charity so I applied. Fortunately I got the job and now I’m able to share my own experience to help raise money. Many people who come into the shop are just like me so we can share stories and relate to each other’s experience.”

Rachel together with her colleagues are encouraging women to follow their lead and sign up at www.raceforlife.org this year.

Throughout January (1-31 January), women are being offered 30% off entry fees for Race for Life 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, Pretty Muddy Kids, Half Marathon and Hike events – so it’s a great time for local ladies to commit to taking part.

Rosemary, whose sister died of breast cancer when she was just 49, said: “I’m so proud to be supporting Race for Life alongside my wonderful staff. Together, we can help beat this devastating disease and I want to encourage as many women as possible to join the fight and sign up to Race for Life this January.

“Every day we get people coming into the shop sharing their experience of cancer and just like our own we are able to see all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. It’s thanks to research that many of our customers are still standing here today and can enjoy more special moments. We’re delighted to do our bit to help and I’m so excited for this year’s Race for Life and being part of a formidable force of women who are so motivated to help raise money and make a difference.”

Shop volunteers Margi and Jen, lost the same family member, Margi’s sister, Jen’s sister-in-law, to bone cancer three years ago.

In addition Margi, from Ushaw Moor, also lost another one of her sisters to cancer that same year (2014). She has been volunteering in the shop for the last 3 and a half years.

She said: “I really enjoy being part of the shop and being able to help raise money. Sadly we know how cancer can impact your life and take away loved ones from you so I will do all I can to help. I hope everyone in Durham gets behind Race for Life and does their part to help find a cure.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, Half Marathon and Hiking events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer sooner by funding crucial research.

Lauren Robertson, Cancer Research UK’s Durham Event Manager, said: “We are very grateful to the shop team for lending their support to Race for Life and it’s clear from their own experiences to see just why we need to do all we can to help fund more research.

“By signing up to Race for Life, women across the region can make a real difference in the fight against cancer. Money raised will help Cancer Research UK scientists and doctors find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives.

“Taking part in Race for Life is a hugely moving experience – full of emotion, courage, tears and laughter – as people come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer, celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived or support those going through treatment. By joining like-minded ladies committed to the cause, local women can unite against a disease that affects us all in some way.”

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies on the public’s support. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend over £4 million last year in the North East on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research – helping more men, women and children survive the disease.

Lauren continued: “Every day, 40 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North East*. That’s why we need women to sign up to Race for Life this January and join mothers, daughters, sisters and friends at the start line when events kick off this summer.

“Money raised through Race for Life is helping to drive research to help beat over 200 different types of cancer – that’s why every step, every person and every penny raised counts.”

To enter Race for Life today visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.