An EIGHT-YEAR-OLD cancer survivor from Rhiwbina re-opened the Cancer Research UK superstore in Cardiff this week, as the charity urges people in the city to shop to save lives.
Darcy Stone who originally opened the store in February last year, cut the ribbon again alongside mum Ruth, her dad, Ian, and her older brother Dylan. They also came armed with donations of books, toys and clothes which Darcy had helped to collect.
Three months on from the shops’ closure in March, staff and volunteers at the Cardiff superstore, are now getting back to business to tackle a shortfall in funding, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With its shops typically contributing more than £25m every year to vital research, Cancer Research UK has suffered a dramatic loss of income since they were forced to close temporarily at the end of March.
Highlighting the scale of the funding gap, the call to support the Cardiff superstore coincides with the launch of an urgent new TV appeal to help get the charity’s life-saving work back on track.
Its customers are a key part of this effort, so strict measures are being followed to ensure people in Cardiff can shop, volunteer and donate goods safely.
These include social distancing, hand sanitiser stations, cough guards at till points, face coverings and gloves for shop staff and volunteers, additional cleaning and a 72-hour quarantine period for donated items
Just two weeks before her third birthday, Darcy was diagnosed with a Wilms tumour, a type of kidney cancer that mainly affects children.
Around 85 children are diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour each year in the UK. *
Thanks to surgery to remove the kidney containing the 10cm tumour and five weeks of chemotherapy Darcy has been cancer-free for five years, a milestone she and her family marked during lockdown.
“We had a take-away meal to celebrate, whilst we couldn’t go out, it was lovely to mark it in some way because it is certainly not something, we take for granted”
She now lives a very active life enjoying dancing and playing football, she also loves shopping so was thrilled to be part of the re-opening moment for the Cardiff superstore.
Mum Ruth Stone said “To look at Darcy now you would never have thought she had been so unwell, the worst part for her was the loss of her hair and now it’s down to the bottom of her back”
Dad Ian Stone added: “If Darcy had been born 30 years ago the outcome may have been very different,” said dad Ian Stone. “If we can fund more research, the more lives like Darcy’s will be saved as a result and we know, now more than ever how important it is to keep funding research, it’s worrying to think progress in research will slow down as a result of the pandemic”
Adam Carsley, Cancer Research UK Superstore Manager, said: “It was an honour to have Darcy re-open the shop today, she is a little star. To save lives tomorrow, we need the public’s support today – so we want people to know we’re making every effort to create a safe shopping experience.
“COVID-19 has hit us hard and after three long months we’re delighted to be able to welcome new and familiar faces back through our doors again, as well as a host of new donations.
“Our shops are full of new and pre-loved items, fashion one-offs and homeware treasures – particularly after lockdown clear-outs. As well as being sold at bargain prices, every sale helps to fund our work. But right now, clinical trials are being postponed and we’re having to delay vital research.
“That’s why we’re asking our Cardiff customers to do what they can. Whether they shop, donate goods or volunteer their time – all are essential to help us keep making breakthroughs for people with cancer.”
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50% of all cancer research in the UK.
However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, it expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 30 per cent in the financial year ahead – putting this research at risk.
Adam added: “COVID-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop. With around 53 people diagnosed with cancer every year in Wales**, we are absolutely determined to continue creating better cancer treatments for the future.
“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on every pound raised. So, with the help of shoppers in Cardiff we believe that together we will still beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK was able to spend nearly £4 million in Wales last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
The Cancer Research UK Cardiff Superstore is now open 9.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday and 10am -3pm on Saturday and Sunday.