‘If it hadn’t been for the regular check ups, it could be very different now’ - Lancashire distiller launches new gin to raise money for cancer research after wife's brave fight
A leading distiller is launching a new gin to raise money for cancer research, following his wife’s battle against cervical cancer at the age of just 29.
Liz Long was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of the cancer in January, thanks to a routine cervical screening test.
After undergoing major life-changing surgeries to treat the cancer, Liz is cancer free - and has teamed up with her businessman husband Mark to raise awareness of cervical cancer, as well as funds for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Mark, the master distiller and director of Brindle Distillery, has added a new gin, called Solace, to his range, with proceeds from every bottle going to the charity.
Their campaign comes as the number of as the number of women having cervical screening checks - previously known as smear tests - has hit a 20-year low.
Mark said: “We just want to raise the profile of the disease and raise awareness. Liz had no symptoms of anything.
“If it had not been for the regular check up every three years, it could be a very different situation now.
“Getting tests is a no brainer. Unfortunately, they’re at an all time low for screening tests in the UK at the moment. It should be on everyone’s priorities.”
With Liz now cancer-free, Mark said it was important they could do something to help raise awareness among other women.
“It’s about raising awareness for women and for men with women in their lives,” he said.
“While in hospital as a family we said let’s just get through this for now and then decide how we can help.
“It opened our eyes to the fact that these things can happen to anyone, and with all the support everyone gave our family we said, how can we give back to the community?
“We’re calling (the new gin) Solace; as a name it shows the appreciation of the support we got.
“It’s going to be in our range forever to give back to cancer research and as a love letter to the community for the support.”Funding from each bottle will be donated to Jo’s Cervical Cancer
Trust, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity.
“It provides support to women who have been through cervical cancer and those currently going through treatment,”
Liz has been blogging online about her story and her gratitude to those who helped her through a challenging time.
“I gather my strength from those around me and, without the constant love and support of Mark, my family, friends and the staff who cared for me in hospital, I honestly wouldn’t be where I am right now,” wrote Liz.
“I owe my deepest thanks and gratitude to the consultants and doctors who have been by my side from the beginning, fixing what was broken and offering sound advice and encouragement to myself and my family.
“I owe my sanity and smiles to my care-givers. The nurses and health care assistants on the gynaecology ward and high dependency unit at Royal Preston who, amongst many other things, held my hand, gave me comfort and made me laugh in my darkest moments. You are all absolute heroes.
“By going to your cervical screening test, you are looking after yourself.
“Please choose to have it and don’t ignore your invitation.
“Because you could save your own life. I did.”
Liz – who is the daughter of fellow distillery directors Gerard and Cath Singleton of Holmes Farm off Sandy Lane – and Mark are now hosting a ticketed charity fund-raiser of
September 28, with a live auction and entertainment, with all proceeds going towards Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
“It’s going to be a real celebration of life and to give back for the support we have had,” explained Mark.
• For more information visit www.brindledistillery.co.uk• Cuckoo Gin Solace will be sold initially at Brindle Distillery and on its website.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity.
It was the concept of London businessman, James Maxwell, in memory of his wife, Jo, who died from cervical cancer at the age of 40 in 1999.
Following her diagnosis in 1995, Jo and James had difficulty finding good information about every aspect of cervical cancer.
It was their hope that one day everyone would have easy access to the best and most up to date information and medical advice.
Most importantly for Jo, it was her wish that women affected by cervical cancer would have the opportunity to communicate with others facing similar challenges.Over the past 20 years,
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and its supporters have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of cervical cancer, its causes and how to prevent it.
• For more information visit www.jostrust.org.uk