Cancer survivor Helena wears band with pride

Helena with husband Gary and daughters Amy and Lucy. INPT05-026
Helena with husband Gary and daughters Amy and Lucy. INPT05-026

A Portadown mother-of-two who survived breast cancer is urging people to unite against the disease ahead of World Cancer Day on Wednesday.

Helena Elliott (39) has been joined by husband Gary and daughters Amy and Lucy in promoting the Cancer Research UK ‘Unity Band’.

The wrist band is made of two parts which form a knot to represent strength in unity. They are available in a range of colours from all Cancer Research UK shops for a suggested donation of £2.

Helena, a cook supervisor at Bocombra Primary School, was diagnosed in February 2008. She had just given birth to Lucy; her older daughter Amy was just three years old.

She said, “I thought it was just a change in the breast after giving birth and because I had the babies I didn’t do anything about it for weeks. It was just a tiny, pea-sized lump. To be honest, I didn’t think it was anything.

Helena underwent a full mastectomy and breast reconstruction, followed by chemotherapy.

She added, “I was devastated when I was diagnosed with cancer but thanks to research and treatment, I’m still here today. That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK and encouraging everyone to get a Unity Band now.”

She added, “I am so grateful for the treatment that saved my life. Now I want to do everything I can to urge people to fight back against this devastating disease.”

Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Northern Ireland, said, “If we unite; we will beat cancer sooner. Thanks to advances being made in research, a small donation can really make a big difference.

“Success stories like Helena’s would not be possible without the commitment of our supporters, who fund the charity’s life-saving work.

On February 4 we are calling on everyone to unite and remember those lost to cancer, celebrate the survivors, and rally in support of those currently fighting cancer.”

Supporters can make a £3 donation by texting UNITE to 70200**.