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Worcester Breast Cancer Centre would be 'fantastic legacy' for Cherry
A POPULAR and passionate breast cancer campaigner who never gave up the fight for a new life-saving unit has died before she could see it open.
Cherry Robinson, one of the fearless ‘calendar girls’ who launched the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign in 2009, died at her home in Osier Close, off Bath Road, Worcester, on October 15.
Mrs Robinson, chairman of the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group and one of the breast unit’s most committed and outspoken patrons, died after suffering secondary cancers.
Her husband of 51 years, Doug Robinson, said: “She was a strong character, very determined.
“If she was going to do something she would always do it to the best of her ability.”
And the 71-year-old said he was convinced his wife’s involvement with the support group had given her a determined attitude to life.
“She never gave up, she wanted to see the breast unit finished very badly,” he said. “She had been fighting secondary cancers for five years. It is a measure of her strength that she fought it so long.
“She was a very caring grandmother and great grandmother. All the kids loved her to bits.”
In her last interview with the Worcester News, in August, Mrs Robinson said she feared she would not live to see the million life-saving unit finished, at 220 Newtown Road. She said three patrons she knew personally, and five members of the support group, had died since the breast unit campaign was launched.
Mrs Robinson took over as chairman of the group from founder member Jacqui Heal, a popular breast care nurse, who died in July 2007. She promised Mrs Heal she would continue to build on the success of the group, which provides support, friendship and funds, to make the battle against cancer more bearable.
Now, campaign administrator Nicky Underwood said they only needed to raise another £150,000 and work could begin on building the unit, which would be a “fantastic legacy” to the efforts of fund-raisers.
She said: “We can’t do it until we have got the money. “All the amazing work Cherry has done along with other supporters will not go in vain.
“It will be a fantastic legacy.”
And her husband urged campaigners to continue to pursue his wife’s passion and see the centre open. “The biggest tribute to her would be that this unit not only gets started but that it gets finished and it gets used,” Mr Robinson said. “There have been people involved in this unit, raising money for this unit, who have gone.
“It does seem to be dragging its heels.”
Mrs Robinson was first diagnosed with the illness 16 years ago, and with secondary cancers 11 years later, finishing her chemotherapy in May.
Chairman of the group since 2007, she was also determined that no-one should face breast cancer alone and lived up to its motto - ‘keep smiling’.
The group remains at the heart of the breast unit campaign, pledging £18,000 to create the unit’s Jacqui Heal Room, a space to allow patients to receive any bad news in comfort and with their privacy and dignity preserved at all times. Fund-raising efforts have also paid for equipment including a tattoo gun to create nipple-shaped tattoos after surgery and other services to enhance the unit.
And Mr Robinson said his wife’s traits as a good organiser and a stickler for lists even stretched to organising the details of her own funeral, including hymns and which charities to support - the breast unit and the support group.
She also asked that those who attend the thanksgiving service to wear pink, the symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
Outside of her fundraising work, Mrs Robinson was known for her excellent “cricket teas” and even served cricketing legends like Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott and Mike Gatting at Trent Bridge.
Born in Bedford, she also loved arts and crafts, and gardening. The couple moved to Kempsey in 1977, and more recently had enjoyed holidays and breaks in a caravan and a trip to New York with friends.
She wanted to be well enough to holiday in Chicago in October but was unable to go, Mr Robinson said.
A family service is being held at noon today (Wednesday) at Worcester Crematorium, followed by a service of thanksgiving at St Mary’s Church, Kempsey, from 1pm, which all are welcome to attend.
Donations can be made to both the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group and the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign. She is survived by her husband Doug, three children David, Paul and Lynne, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE:
By post: Send your gift to FREEPOST, RSAX-JTUA-LACU, Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign Office, Charles Hastings Education Centre, Charles Hastings Way, Worcester, WR5 1DD. No stamp required.
Online: Visit justgiving.com/worcestershirehospital-breastunit/
Donate By text: Text ‘WBUC44 £1 / £2 / £5 / £10’ to 70070
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