Surviving and thriving with Cancervive

Cleverly combining the words ‘cancer’ and ‘survive’ in their name, Cancervive is a unique, cancer awareness project that is proudly backed by SPAR this Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Using the stories of survivors to inspire and educate, the project aims to encourage people to empower themselves with the message that ‘early detection saves lives!’ says Bhavna Sanker, SPAR BRAND Promotions and Advertising Manager. “As a business that holds people at the heart of who we are, we are proud to play a part in this mission and share a personal story of hope from one of our own survivors, Rene Crichton, who conquered breast cancer a few years ago,” adds Bhavna.

With a family history of breast cancer, Rene has always been aware of the importance of doing regular checks, and it was while doing a self-examination one evening, four years ago, that she first felt a lump in her breast.

Having just recently celebrated her 50th birthday, she was absolutely devastated and uncertain of what the future would hold. What followed was a whirlwind of medical appointments, tests and doctors’ consultations before a course of action was decided upon.

Fortunately, as a result of the early detection, Rene’s breast cancer was treatable with a lumpectomy, however, she did have to undergo radiotherapy and six months of chemotherapy to ensure all trace of the cancer was eradicated. “During chemo, I felt very nauseous for a few days afterwards. However, I’m fortunate that I can work remotely, so I scheduled my treatments for Thursday afternoons so that I could work from home on a Friday and Monday and rest when I needed to.”

Throughout the gruelling treatment, Rene maintained a positive attitude and says the support of family, friends and colleagues, together with her faith, were key to getting through each day. “My colleagues at SPAR were amazing. They encouraged me every step of the way,” says Rene, and added that her boss regularly checked in with her to see how she was doing. “He always told me that my job was the least of my worries and that getting through treatment was all I needed to focus on.”

Having an employer so invested in raising awareness about breast cancer means a lot to Rene. “I was fortunate to have an incredible support network around me, but many people have no one to reach out to, which is why the work the Cancervive team do is so desperately needed in society,” she says.

Now having been in remission for nearly four years, Rene has this advice to share, “Ladies, go for your mammograms and check-ups regularly. If you think there is something wrong, get it checked by a medical practitioner. If I had ignored the lump that I felt, my cancer could have spread to my lymph nodes and other organs.”

Rene concludes, “I didn’t know enough about cancer when I was diagnosed and thought it was a death sentence. Cancervive plays such an important role in not only raising awareness around the importance of early detection, but also educating and encouraging women who have been diagnosed, and giving them hope that they can survive! I am so proud that SPAR is a part of this mission, and how easy they have made it for people to show their support and contribute to this incredible cause.”

From 1-31 October, a portion of the sale of every SPAR 500ml Still Water with a pink label will be donated to Cancervive to help them raise awareness about the importance of early cancer detection and educate as many people as possible on the signs and symptoms of cancer.