Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

'The cure for cancer is out there, we just have to find it'

Rosie Adamson, who battled breast and lung cancer, tells Stephanie Bell why she's taken up her tongs to help others

Standing to attention with a group of Action Cancer supporters at the annual Race for Life charity run
Standing to attention with a group of Action Cancer supporters at the annual Race for Life charity run
Barbeque queen: Rosie, right, with Liz Gardner, a fellow cancer survivor who is helping to organise the barbecue event
Rosie strikes a pose
Enjoying a drink with her sisters, from left, Bernie, Rosie, Diane, Maureen and Kaye
Sad loss: Rosie's brother Micky died of prostate cancer

Like the smell of cut grass, there is nothing to match the waft of charcoal coming over the neighbour's fence to remind us that summer is here.

Although the weather doesn't allow us to light up the barbeque as often as we would like, the first signs of sunshine often sees us putting sausages on to sizzle in the open air as we enjoy a bit of al-fresco dining.

And local gourmet grillers are now being given a special incentive to get the barbie out, as Cancer Research UK launches a fundraising summer campaign.

The charity is hoping local people will host a barbeque for friends and family to help raise much-needed funds for continued research.

Cancer survivor, Rosie Adamson, is one of the first to sign up and she has been surprised by how quickly her plans have snowballed from a gathering in her garden to hosting an all-day family event in Holywood Yacht Club on August 2.

Rosie's battle with breast and lung cancer, and the tragic loss of so many family members to the disease, has prompted people near and far to back her fundraising event.

The 47-year-old care worker from Holywood is married to Michael (51) and they have two children, Rachael (18) and Stuart (16).

Rosie had just turned 42 in 2008 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled for three years, undergoing a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, as well as aggressive chemotherapy.

She has been clear for three years, but has also had to come through the trauma of watching her sister Diane battle breast cancer and her brother Micky lose his fight with prostate cancer in September 2011.

Rosie also lost two uncles and two aunts to cancer and is determined to do what she can to help find a cure by raising funds for research. Through many different events over the past few years, she has raised £14,000.

She is now urging people across Northern Ireland to get their barbeques out and enjoy some summer fun, while helping Cancer Research continue its important work into finding treatments and a cure.

"My own journey was very long and a hard struggle, and with my sister and brother also getting cancer, it has led me to believe it is genetic in our family, although we were told by the genetics team that ours was hormonal," she says.

"I have also lost good friends from cancer and my biggest fear is for my own children, which is why I do so much fundraising as I believe it is important we all help to find a cure.

"I have met so many wonderful friends and for the last five years we have all done Race for Life.

"I hope we are all around to do it for the next 40 years. My advice is for young women to get screened.

"Breast cancer is not an old woman's disease, which most people think it is, and especially if you have a family history, demand to be seen and don't give up.

"There is a cure out there somewhere and it's only through research that we will find it."

Rosie says she has been overwhelmed by the response of her family and friends to her big event.

"I can't believe how popular my barbeque has become," she says. "Initially I planned to hold it at home this coming Saturday, but so many people wanted to come I hired the local yacht club and the only date they could give me was August 2, which was the date I was diagnosed, which is such a coincidence.

"I believe now that things are meant to be and I am planning a super day for all the family, with music from the band, Strictly No Ballroom. There will be events for the children in the afternoon, with the adults dancing into the night, so hopefully more people will come and enjoy it."

The way the Cancer Research Summer Barbeque works is that you decide to stage it and simply ask guests to make a donation to the charity. Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Northern Ireland, also urged people to take part.

"It's clear from our new survey that, when it comes to barbecues, men and women throughout the province know what makes a sizzling success," she says.

"So, whether you're a barbeque beginner or gourmet griller, simply follow our special 'recipe' and you can guarantee a tasty triumph on the grills this summer as you turn up the heat on cancer.

"Barbequers can cook up some cash for Cancer Research UK and help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. It's time to rally friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours and tell cancer to burger off."

Our favourite ingredients

  • The essential ingredients for the perfect barbeque are revealed in a new survey by Cancer Research UK to highlight the new summer fundraising campaign.
  • According to the poll, over three quarters (77%) of us think a home garden is the ideal setting, with the charcoal barbeque reigning supreme with more than half of respondents (54%) preferring to use it over gas (11%).
  • Tomato ketchup was the most important barbeque condiment with 49% of men and women in Northern Ireland choosing it over barbeque sauce (15%) and mayonnaise (13%), while coleslaw was named as the favourite accompaniment by more than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed, with potato wedges in second place (18%) and potato salad third (13%).
  • And it seems that we do remain eternally optimistic about the weather in Northern Ireland, with half of respondents (50%) saying 20-25ºC was the ideal outside temperature for their barbeque.
  • The survey also showed that Jamie Oliver is the chef most people in Northern Ireland would want to host a barbeque, closely followed by Gordon Ramsay and Nigel Slater.
  • The majority of us (65%) would spend at least one hour planning, setting up and preparing food, with almost half (44%) stating that six to 10 people would constitute the perfect barbeque party crowd.

How you can do your bit

  • Every hour, someone in Northern Ireland is diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding so it relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving work.
  • This includes CRUK's annual investment of £2m in cancer research in Northern Ireland for the last few years at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) in Belfast.
  • The charity is also funding clinical trials in hospitals across Northern Ireland. Last year almost 2,000 patients took part in trials which are vital to test new ways of treating and controlling cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK's BBQ pack contains everything supporters need to plan their perfect barbeque, including an exclusive BBQ Hero chef's hat, recipe ideas, top tips, decorations, posters and more. Event hosts can simply collect donations up-front from friends and family, or on the day of their event. To sign up and get a free pack, left, visit the website www.cruk.org/BBQ
  • For further information about Cancer Research UK's work, or to find out how to support the charity, tel: 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.

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