Published: February 24, 2011
Burnham's MP and Mayor back charity's cancer awareness campaign

Burnham-On-Sea's MP and Mayor were among the local dignitaries at the launch of a local charity's cancer awareness campaign on Thursday (February 24th) in memory of a local lady who died of the disease last year.

Over 20 people, including MP Tessa Munt, Mayor Michael Clarke, Mayoress Maria Clarke and Cllr Joe Leach, attended Somerset Breakthrough Breast Cancer's launch of its 'Julie's Legacy' campaign, named after 35-year-old Julie Selway, who died last April after a battle with breast cancer.

"Julie was extremely kind hearted and would be there for you at any time. She was a special woman who helped other people to cope with breast cancer and convinced them to carry on with treatment when they were thinking of giving up," the charity's founder, Christine Piper, told at Thursday evening's launch at Burnham's BASC ground.

Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2007 and joined Somerset Breakthrough Breast Cancer in the summer of 2008.

"Julie settled in with our group and we were shocked to hear about her breast cancer. She explained to me that she didn't know that the dimpling she found on her breast was a sign of breast cancer. She, like hundreds of women today, thought you had to find a lump to have breast cancer."

"When Julie joined us, time wasn't on her side and the cancer had spread to her spine and her liver."

"She had already had operations on her spine to insert eight titanium screws and two rods followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She had five attempts at chemo."

"She told us that the treatment had made her feel like she had a second chance at life and, for a while, it did as it allowed her to marry the love of her life, Iaine, and they travelled to some of the places she had always wanted to."

However, Julie lost her fight on Thursday 15th April last year.

Christine added: "As a group, we were all stunned by her death, we were expecting to see her at our fundraising fashion show, which held last May. We hadn't seen Julie since our ball in December which, with Julie's help, was a fantastic success as it was the group's first ever ball."

"I kept thinking about her and came up with the idea of Julie's Legacy to promote breast cancer awareness across Somerset and put it to our group who agreed without hesitation and it is even more fitting now as earlier this month it was announced that breast cancer now affects one in eight women."

Julie's legacy was born and with the support of MP Tessa Munt, Bernie Nolan and Cllr Michael and Mrs Maria Clarke, the campaign was launched.

The 'Touch, Look, Check' campaign urges women to touch their breasts to check whether they feel anything unusual, look for changes in shape or texture, and check for anything unusual with their doctor.

The charity hopes that local businesses, schools, colleges and other public areas will display posters to raise awareness of the campaign. Those who can help should call 01278 793870.

Burnham MP Tessa Munt told at Thursday's event: "Breast Cancer affects so many families and each of us will know someone whose life has been affected by breast cancer. It's so important that everyone, women and men 'touch, look and check' so that any problems can be caught early."

"The Somerset Breakthrough Breast Cancer group does fantastic work and raises an amazing amount of money to campaign and support people with breast cancer and I'm honoured to support their work."

And Mayor Cllr Michael Clarke added: "We are truly proud to be involved with Breakthrough Breast Cancer; the work carried out by this pioneering charity is really helping to save lives. Promoting education and awareness are vital in the fight against breast cancer and Breakthrough is making a difference."

A special message was also received in time for the launch from Bernie Nolan, from the Nolan Sisters and now touring in Calendar Girls, who said: "Life is so important. One day I noticed dimpling on my breast and I nearly ignored it but something told me 'no' and I went to my GP, who on checking found a lump which resulted in my having six months of Chemotherapy followed by a Mastectomy and Reconstruction."

"I am supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer's Touch Look Check campaign which can save your life as it tells you the signs of breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of beating it, so please Touch Look Check because life is so important. Please support the Somerset Breakthrough group who do such fantastic work promoting and fundraising to make a difference."

The Somerset Breakthrough Breast Cancer group was formed in 1997 by Christine and John Piper. Group members Susie Loosley, Holly Brown and Holly Macbeth have been with the group for a long time, however Julie's husband, Iaine, her sister Hayley, and brothers-in-law Marc and Colston, along with friends Andy and Eugene, joined the group in June last year and helped to add to the impressive £260,000 raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. More details are available here.

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