Suzy Orr announces new foundation to raise thousands to help women living with breast cancer

A woman who opened up her breast cancer journey to ITV Granada's cameras is to set up a foundation to raise thousands for new equipment to help cancer patients.

Suzy Orr, from Chorley, allowed ITV Granada correspondent Elaine Willcox to follow her story from diagnosis, to treatment and to recovery, in a candid view of what it is like to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Announcing why she set up the charity Suzy said: "If Chorley Hospital get this machine it would make a difference to any woman going through breast cancer like I did."

"It would mean they can have radiotherapy treatment at the point of surgery. It would make Chorley Hospital a centre of excellence, it would make such a huge difference and I'm determined to get that money."

Suzy has allowed Elaine Willcox to join her on her journey Credit: ITV Granada

The portable radiotherapy machine costs £500,000 but can also be used to treat other cancers and not only breast cancer.

On Friday, Suzy returned to work for the first time since completing her treatment, where she was joined by her local MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle who pledged his support.

He said: "She has raised awareness and fundraising. Now once again she has launched a campaign to get this portable equipment that will make a difference to women's lives and it is great news for Chorley Hospital.

"Suzy thank you for what you do, you are a true hero."

Suzy Orr with Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Claire Robinson from Chic Happens Credit: ITV Granada

Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon Shazia Hafiz, who removed Suzy's tumour, said her story had undoubtedly helped to save lives.

"I still have patients coming to the Chorley Breast unit saying because they saw Suzy's story on tv and they are coming for the mammograms and regularly checking their breasts I hear that everyday"

"Nothing is a big ask for Suzy. She is somebody who can spearhead funds alongside charity for this equipment we can only support that, because it will help breast cancer patients."

Shazia Hafiz, Consulant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon says Suzy has made a huge difference Credit: ITV Granada

Announcing her plans for her new charity, The Suzy Orrsome Foundation on International Women's Day, Suzy said she hoped to raise enough to buy an IORT machine, there are only two in the UK both in London.

The treatment helps speed up recovery times and save countless appointments.

Suzy has already donated £1,000 to the foundation herself, her Unique Ladies Network has matched that and she is now asking businesses for fundraising support.

"It's just 500 businesses or individuals with deep pockets who can support patients going through cancer. Any woman in the north west could elect to have surgery in Chorley and have this treatment."

The Chorley businesswoman was diagnosed last June. Her cancer wasn't visible to the human eye, and was instead picking up by a routine mammogram.

ITV Granada was there to see her ring the bell to bring her treatment to an end in December, after 6 months of chemotherapy.

Suzy has allowed unprecedented access to her cancer journey, with cameras following her every step of the way Credit: ITV Granada

Suzy's Journey

June 2023: She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2023 after a routine mammogram.August 2023: Just a day before her surgery, Suzy organised a charity walk to raise money for local breast cancer charities at Rivington Pike.

August 2023: Suzy's tumour is removed with magnetic probes at Chorley Hospital.

September 2023: Suzy received the welcome news that her cancer had not spread to her Lymph Nodes.

October 2023: After her positive news, Suzy began four months of chemotherapy.

December 2023: A tearful Suzy rang the bell to signal the end of her chemotherapy.

January 2024: The next stage of her journey begins, with Radiotherapy at Royal Preston Hospital.

March 2024: Suzy returns to work for the first time, and announces her new foundation to raise money to buy equipment to improve treatment.

It's thought that up to 30% of women in the North West do not attend their routine mammogram appointments, and the take up rate is particularly low in the Asian and Afro-Carribbean communities.

Those stats are something Suzy wants to change.

Speaking to ITV Granada in December Suzy said she would be happy to talk to women from diverse communities who may be reluctant to have mammograms to take some of the fear away.

As well as plans for her own foundation, Suzy has vowed to continue to raise money for Boot Out Breast Cancer.

Suzy is an ambassador for the charity which has raised over £1.5 million to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for the NHS.

She is doing a skydive in June to celebrate 'booting out cancer' and to raise more funds after the equipment helped save her life.

Suzy most recently allowed ITV cameras into her radiotherapy treatment Credit: ITV Granada

NHS breast screening checks use X-rays to look for cancers that are too small to see or feel.

  • Mammograms are offered to women aged between 50-71 and are carried out every three years.

  • In the North West, the uptake rate for screening is 69.8%

  • Each year 375 men are diagnosed with chest cancer in the UK

The first symptom of breast cancer most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but the advice is to always have them checked.

You should see a GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

  • a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples

  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits

  • a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness

  • a rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness on or around your nipple

  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

You can find out more details about your local unit at NHS.UK