A 12-YEAR-OLD cancer survivor who is “thriving and happy” thanks to lifesaving treatment was the guest of honour at the opening of Cancer Research UK’s biggest shop in Wales.
Lucas Hoare from Bettws arrived ahead of shoppers to cut a ribbon at the charity’s Newport superstore in Spytty Retail Park on Wednesday 14 April.
Lucas’ mum Lindsay said he was “chuffed to bits” to be asked to officially open the superstore.
Lindsay said: “He called his friend to tell him the news as soon as he found out. He couldn’t wait to cut the ribbon and it’s been something lovely for us to look forward to as a family.”
Lucas rang the bell at Cardiff’s Noah’s Ark Hospital to mark the end of his treatment in April 2019 after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) when he was seven years old.
Lindsay explained: “When Lucas was diagnosed it was such a shock. Our world fell apart and I couldn’t register what the doctor was telling us. When I look back, it feels surreal. Although it was five years ago, I can remember everything like it was yesterday.”
Lucas had chemotherapy for three years, steroid treatment and was placed on a cancer trial called ‘UKALL 2011’. Now cancer free, the avid Liverpool FC and wrestling fan is enjoying being back at Newport High School.
Lindsay added: “He never stopped smiling during his treatment and there were some really difficult moments. He has always shown maturity beyond his years and we are so incredibly proud of him.
“He is such a happy boy and is thriving now. He has been excited to go back to school and opening the new superstore will be something memorable to share with his class.”
The 9,800sq ft store is the third of its kind in Wales following the success of the charity’s other superstores in Holyhead and Cardiff.
The store stocks a huge selection of items including furniture, clothing, toys and electrical goods, as well as Cancer Research UK’s own range of home and garden furnishings.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Lucas and his family for opening our largest store in Wales. We hope Lucas’ inspiring story encourages people to support the charity so that we can continue to fund the very best scientists in Wales and across the UK.
“Covid-19 has slowed us down, but we will never stop. Our research has played a role in developing 8 of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs. We’re working hard to raise funds for our research into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. It has been a challenging time but our new superstore in Newport is worth celebrating as it will help fund world-class research to help more people, like Lucas, survive cancer.”
Customers are a key part of helping to get the charity’s life-saving work back on track, so strict measures are being followed to ensure people in Newport can shop, volunteer and donate goods safely.
These include social distancing, hand sanitiser stations, cough guards at till points, face coverings for shop staff and volunteers plus additional cleaning procedures.
Every year, around 19,300 people are diagnosed with the disease in Wales.*
Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. But more funds and supporters are needed to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
The shop will be open Monday to Saturday, 9am until 6pm, and Sundays 10am to 4pm.
Volunteers are needed at the store and the shop welcomes donations of furniture, good-quality clothes, shoes, bags, books and homeware. Each bag of donated clothes is worth up to £25 – even more if supporters sign up for Gift Aid.