A Tameside woman who has been diagnosed with five different types of cancer in the past 35 years has thanked the doctors and researchers who have “given her hope”.
71-year-old Irene North was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1987, and has been under the care of The Christie in Manchester ever since.
The retired NHS phlebotomist – who has a daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren – said she was most worried about her family when she was first diagnosed, because her mum had died of cancer at the age of 41 when Irene was just six years old.
“Because mum died so young, it was always at the back of my mind that I might get cancer,” Irene admitted.
Over the past three and half decades, not only has Irene been diagnosed with breast cancer and secondary breast cancer, but she has also been treated for cervical cancer, skin cancer, and a routine scan in 2014 detected the very early stages of pancreatic cancer – which was successfully treated without her requiring major surgery.
Following treatment during 1987 and 1988, Irene was declared cancer free.
Along with her husband Jack, Irene threw herself into fundraising for cancer-related causes, and also helped to set up the local Withington/Christie breast cancer care group.
Now, Irene has decided to pay tribute to the doctors and researchers who have “given her hope” throughout her cancer journey, explaining: “When I first got cancer, I was terrified.
“I was told I needed to go to The Christie and back then, just the name of the hospital felt like a death sentence… [but] once I was through the door and started to talk to people, I realised that it wasn’t the place I or my family feared.
“The staff are so caring and compassionate, and their expertise is always plain to see.”
Two of the doctors at The Christie that Irene has paid a special thank you to is father and son consultants, Tony and Sasha Howell.
“Tony and I became friends, and he supported the [Withington/Christie breast cancer care group] frequently,” said Irene. “He came along to talk to us as cancer patients about the challenges and developments of breast cancer treatments [and] over the years, I got to know most of the breast care team at The Christie and many of them joined us to share their expertise with the group.”
She continued: “In 2008, I walked through the door into a consulting room with my daughter Tracy and was surprised to see a spitting image of Tony Howell. It was surreal. Sacha explained that Tony was his dad.
“They are both very similar in how they treat patients. They both really listen to what you have to say, and I always felt like they had my best interests at heart.”
Irene admits that coping with cancer is “hard” and living with it for 35 years has been tough, but she says she feels “very lucky” that many of the cancer treatments she has been given over the years have worked for longer than anticipated.
“The doctors have helped me maintain hope [and] that’s why the work The Christie does to discover new treatments is so important for patients like me,” said Irene.
Irene has also benefited from having some of her care delivered at home via The Christie outreach team.
“A lot of my treatment can be given by The Christie staff in local health facilities or even in the comfort of my own home with the nurses coming to me [and] that has made a huge difference to me, particularly during the pandemic and I’m very grateful.
“This team is another example of the wonderful work The Christie does.”
Featured Image – The Christie
Manchester band M60 are tagging Gary Neville every day until he listens to their music — let’s help make it happen
Nearly half a year ago, Manchester band M60 began a social media campaign to start tagging Manchester United legend turned pundit Gary Neville every single day until he listens to their music.
And, you know, since we’re all about supporting local artists, we thought we’d do our bit by pecking his head in too.
We’ve seen the Manc indie outfit live a couple of times now — including their headline set at Gorilla back in 2023 (at the time their biggest gig to date) — and they’ve never disappointed, be it the performance or their ever-growing cult following of loyal fans.
That being said, we feel we’re only doing Gary Neville and all of you lot a public service by joining them in their efforts to get their name out there. Plus, we’re enjoying all the different ways they’re managing to keep things interesting:
If you’ve never come across them before either, the four-piece is made up of a bunch of mates from various towns around the region and is fronted by vocalist and lead guitarist Matthew Morton. Alliterative names always make us think of superheroes and their tunes often make us feel like that too.
Playing together since their high school days and named after the massive Greater Manchester motorway from 2015 onwards, they’re best known for tunes like ‘I Don’t Mind’, ‘Honey’, ‘Darling’; ‘Fade Away’, ‘Kool-Aid’ and plenty more.
They also recently released their latest debut EP, How Did You Get There? and trust us, it’s a belter. Morton once described their sound as ‘Sweet Mancunian indie rock‘ and we couldn’t sum it up any better ourselves. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Which is exactly why we want ‘r Gary to get on them too.
Also, we’ve found the whole journey very funny up until this point, so long may it continue — not too long though; we actually really want him to become M60’s newest and biggest fan through sheer persistence and pestering by the local band and yours truly. And by all means, feel free to join us in the good fight.
The local lads themselves have joked about becoming more well-known simply by embracing themselves as the “Gary Neville meme band” as the days pass, but the strategy is still kind of working nonetheless and with more new music on the way, why stop now?
We want to see Gary’s phone blowing up non-stop, right up to the point that he gets more annoyed than he did in that infamous clip of somebody passing his phone number and simply has to see what all the fuss is about it.
Featured Images — Press Image/Sky Sports (via screenshot)
BBC is looking for Mancs to take part in next series of Race Across the World
Are you a fan of travelling? Got yourself a bit of a competitive streak in your nature? This might just be your calling then.
The BBC is currently casting for the next series of Race Across the World.
The broadcaster has announced that the BAFTA-winning hit show is set to return to our TV screens for a third series later this year, and producers are now on the look-out for “intrepid duos” of all ages who reckon they’re ready to take a step into the unknown, and embark on an epic race across land and sea – and that includes Greater Manchester residents.
With applications for the next series of the massively-popular show now open, nomadic Mancs are being encouraged to take part.
On a limited budget and away from the luxuries of modern technology and conveniences, those lucky applicants selected to take part in the next series will get the chance to experience life in some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations.
Navigating their way across thousands of miles, they’ll travel through spectacular scenery and dynamic cities, visit ancient wonders, learn local customs, and take part in time-honoured traditions.
But, as producers are keen to point out, “the physical journey is only half of the story”.
That’s because, as the contestants take on the challenge of travelling across the world, the greatest thing they’ll discover along the way could actually be about themselves and one another.
Putting out a UK-wide casting call on the BBC website this week, producers Studio Lambert wrote: “We are now accepting applications for the next series of Race Across the World. This experience is open to all, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or total novice.
“We want to hear what undertaking a trip like this would mean to you, and with a cash prize at stake, what lengths you would go to to win.
Applications for the massively-popular show are now open / Credit: BBC
“Maybe you’re looking to change something in your life? Or are keen to share the journey with someone special like a family member, best friend, or someone you’ve lost touch with. You may even have a very personal reason for wanting to travel at this time in your life or explore a particular part of the world.”
Fancy it then?
Applications for the third series of Race Across the World are now open for anyone over 18 years of age, with a deadline date of Friday 19 April 2024, and you can find out more information and apply via the BBC website.