A GRANDMOTHER who works for a longstanding Flintshire firm has dedicated nearly two decades of her life to helping raise more than £500,000 for cancer research.
Chris Whitbread, 69, has been a pivotal member of the Mold branch of North West Cancer Research (NWCR) since 1998.
She lost her dad Jack to cancer who was first diagnosed aged 49 and his family watched him battle against the disease for 15 years.
When she was asked by a good friend to join the cause, she didn’t hesitate and has since dedicated much of her free time from her job at TDC Services in Ewloe to supporting the Mold branch of NWCR.
The modest mum-of-two, who also has two grandsons, said: “This is something I enjoy doing outside of work. I’ve been involved there now for 19 years and we’ve raised quite a lot of money in that time.
“Last year we raised a total of £34,000 and a few years ago we made over £55,000 which is absolutely brilliant.
“People like to see money stay in the area rather than a national pot. The money goes to our research bases in Liverpool, Lancaster and Bangor.”
TDC Services Managing Director David Catherall said: “Chris is very modest about the amazing fundraising work she does for North West Cancer Research but we’re all immensely proud of the significant and tireless role she plays within the charity.
“She is a very loyal and hardworking member of the TDC team and those qualities have clearly also benefited the Mold branch of North West Cancer Research for almost 20 years.”
For Chris, dedicating her time to helping raising cash for cancer research is particularly poignant given the death of her dad Jack after a long battle with the disease.
She explained: “My dad had cancer and it is awful to see how it ravages someone. It really is horrible to see.
“He was 49 when he was diagnosed and had it for 15 years. It started as lymphoma and then it was pancreatic cancer that took him quite quickly.
“He was diagnosed in the 1970s and then to get through into the 80s, to survive at that time for as long as he did was quite good. He was 65 when he died.
“But we saw the effect it had over a period of time and it is hard. That’s why it’s nice to be able to highlight the work we do, what is needed and how people can help make a difference.”
In her role as a committee member Chris, who lives in Mold, helps to organise a variety of fundraising activities including lunches and balls, coffee mornings, and afternoon teas.
She got involved with the branch through her friendship with former chair and local fundraising stalwart Beryl Powell MBE, who stepped down from the post in 2014.
Chris said: “I heard about it through Beryl and she said why don’t you come down and give some time to it.
“I haven’t looked back since. I attend the monthly meeting and help sort out things throughout the year.
“I get a lot out of being a committee member, it’s something I really enjoy and there is a real community feel in the group. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years.
“It really does feel like the time has flown by. Obviously we’ve unfortunately lost some members over the years but we have a lot of younger people coming through now.
“We’re fortunate in that respect. Some committees don’t survive but we’ve got younger committee members coming through with new ideas and we have a fantastic chair too in Sharon Knott.”
NWCR is the only independent cancer research charity fighting the toughest cancers in North West England and North Wales.
The charity funds research at the University of Liverpool, Bangor University and Lancaster University, and has committed to providing £13m worth of cancer research projects over the next five years.
For more information about the charity visit nwcr.org.