Leeds charity shop manager gets on her bike to help fight cancer

Jeanette Boyle spent the day on an exercise bike in the window of Cancer Research UK's charity shop in Horsforth to launch a week of fun fundraising activities in the lead up to World Cancer Day on Sunday 4 February. Picture: Richard Walker / www.imagenorth.net
Jeanette Boyle spent the day on an exercise bike in the window of Cancer Research UK's charity shop in Horsforth to launch a week of fun fundraising activities in the lead up to World Cancer Day on Sunday 4 February. Picture: Richard Walker / www.imagenorth.net
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A CHARITY shop manager spent the day on an exercise bike in the window of her store to urge people to back Cancer Research UK’s campaign for World Cancer Day.

Jeanette Boyle, manager of the charity’s shop on Town Street in Horsforth, was inspired by her brother’s battle to get his voice back after fighting throat cancer to go the extra mile in the lead up to the global day of action on Sunday.

Ms Boyle, 58, of East Bierley, Bradford, wants people to pick up a Cancer Research UK Unity Band and wear it with pride on after watching her brother, David Boyle, 54, go through throat cancer for the last two years, which resulted in him losing his voice box.

She is looking forward to chatting with him again after he has surgery to have a speaking valve fitted in the next few weeks.

Ms Boyle said: “I am so grateful my brother David is still here today. I can’t wait to hear him to speak again, it will be such an important milestone for him and all of our family. It will be like getting my brother properly back again.”

At the same time, Jeanette will be celebrating 15 year anniversary working for Cancer Research UK.

She said: “In all those years I have known so many colleagues and customers who have faced cancer. Sadly many of them were taken by it, but many more are still her and going strong.

“But the first time cancer hit my family was two years ago. David had a really bad cough for some time and his GP sent him to Bradford Royal Infirmary for tests. They discovered cancer in his throat. We were all really shocked. He had laser treatment, then radiotherapy every day for three weeks, where he had to wear a mask to hold him in place for the treatment. But tests a few months later showed the cancer was still there. He was devastated, especially when they told him he would have to have surgery to remove his voice box.

“He didn’t realise at the time what effect this would have on his life, nor did the rest of us. We knew he needed the surgery, but it scared all of us, especially my mum, who is 80. We didn’t know what to say to him.

“David had the surgery last summer and we joined together to support him as he adjusted to life without a voice. He went round with a little dry wipe board and pen and he used visual tools, such as mouthing the words and using his hands to help him communicate. But it was hard to see his frustration.

“Getting the speaking valve fitted will enable him to have a voice again and return to more of a normal life and he, like all of us, can’t wait. It might not sound exactly like the David we were used to, but it is going to make such a massive difference for him.”

Every day, around 80 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire and the Humber* so by wearing a Unity Band, people can show solidarity with those affected by the disease.

But thanks to research, more and more people are beating it.

Ms Boyle added: “That’s why I want everyone in Horsforth, and across Leeds, to wear a Cancer Research UK Unity Band on World Cancer Day – it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise money for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research.

“You can pick one up from our shop in Horsforth or any Cancer Research UK shop, including Leeds City Centre, Kirkstall Bridge, Moortown or Armley. Just by wearing a Unity Band, everyone can help make a real difference to people with cancer.”