A CLOSE encounter with cancer first alerted Olive Cutts to the lifesaving work of charity North West Cancer Research some 40 years ago. The 72 year-old from Southport hopes that by sharing her story, she will encourage a new group of fundraisers in the Formby region, who will help support a very local fight against cancer. Each year around 148 people in the Formby region will be diagnosed with cancer and one in three of those will die from cancer or cancer related diseases. Olive’s son George was just 11-years-old when he was diagnosed with blastoma – a cancer which commonly affects children – in his eye. Thankfully, thanks to rapid treatment and early diagnosis her son survived and is living life to the full four decades later. She said: “When the doctor told me he had cancer and that they had to operate straight away – I just collapsed to the floor. They said that if it had been left any longer George might not have made it to Christmas. “He did make it to Christmas though and has celebrated countless Christmases with us since. The surgeon who operated on George, and ultimately saved his life, started his medical career with North West Cancer Research, which was the North West Cancer Research Fund at the time. “At that point I wasn’t involved in any charity work. I was just an ordinary mum bringing up four wonderful kids. But of course, George’s illness completely changed my world. I knew I wanted to give something back. So I started fundraising for North West Cancer Research joining its Southport committee. “I started off quite small at first helping out at some of the group’s fundraising evenings and social events, but gradually I became more and more involved. I really enjoyed working with a group of men and women who all wanted to do something to help the fight against cancer. Before I knew I was secretary of the group and then chair.” Olive’s enthusiastic support for the charity’s ground-breaking research has never faltered, even during her own recent battle with breast cancer. Being diagnosed, and later cured, of breast cancer at the age of 72 has strengthened her resolve to help North West Cancer Research beat cancer sooner. She is now encouraging people from Formby to come together and help the charity continue its fight against cancer, by joining a dedicated fundraising group. It is hoped the group will work to organise events and activities in the local community to raise money for cancer research projects. Olive will head up a special drop in evening at Gild Hall in Formby on Thursday 1st September from 5pm – 7pm. She hopes as many people as possible will join her to find out more about how they can help support lifesaving research. North West Cancer Research is the biggest locally-based funder of cancer research in the region. Today it has committed to funding more than £13 million worth of research over the next five years – £8.9 million of which will be based here in Merseyside. Olive added: “Getting together with like-minded people from your community is a fun and fulfilling way of raising money for North West Cancer Research. You can give as much or as little of your time as you like, and any contribution no matter how big or small goes a long way in helping the fight against cancer. “The money that you raise stays here in the North West and you can be reassured by the fact that North West Cancer Research keeps its overheads as low as they possibly can. That was a really big pull for me when I first started supporting them. “The quality of the research they fund is also a big plus. It’s making real inroads and gives great hope. “By working together we can beat cancer sooner.” To register your interest in becoming a supporter of North West Cancer Research contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nwcr.org The Formby open evening will take place on September 1st at Gild Hall (the Marain Suite) Church Road, Formby, L37 3NG from 5pm – 7pm.