News & Insights
Be Brave – Stand up to Cancer: Joanne Cluxton, Group HR Manager
As part of Mercury’s ‘Staying Connecting this Christmas’ campaign, our team members are sharing their cancer stories, as part of the ‘Be Brave – Stand up to Cancer’ pillar.
Joanne Cluxton, Mercury’s Group HR Manager, shares her personal family cancer story.
Can you tell us a bit about your personal story with cancer?
In April 2016, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Oesophageal Cancer. I didn’t believe it at first. My dad was only 54, was healthy and a non-smoker. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that he had cancer growing inside him for about 12 months, completely unnoticed. I got married in December 2015 and my dad was fit and healthy, and four months later we were being told he had stage 3 cancer, so this was a big shock for me and my family.
Before my dad’s diagnosis we hadn’t had much experience of cancer. He was the first person close to our family that had been diagnosed with the disease. There was great support from the Irish Cancer Society and Oesophageal Cancer Support. My dad had to change his diet to softer foods because the location of the tumour made it difficult for him to swallow and the Irish Cancer Society gave some great advice in dealing with a loved one with cancer and recipes to ensure he was getting the right nutrients especially while he was undergoing his treatment.
My dad was so positive and upbeat throughout this time. He wasn’t going to let cancer get the better of him. He would regularly say – “When I am better, I’ll do that”. He was determined to try and fight the disease.
I remember in December 2016; we were going out for a family dinner on Christmas Eve and he was so excited to be spending time with his family. Unfortunately, just afterwards, he got very sick due to the aggressive nature of his cancer, and passed away in January 2017, aged 55.
Tell us a little bit about your father.
My dad lived and breathed the GAA (the Gaelic Athletic Association) and followed the Dublin team everywhere. Even during the summer of 2016 when he was going through chemotherapy, he made sure he got to go to as many games as possible. The first couple of games after he passed away were difficult, as we would always expect to meet him after the games. He was delighted to be out with friends and family enjoying the atmosphere at games.
He was always laughing and smiling. Christmas was one of his favourite times of the year when the whole family got together, and he was always up to devilment. He turned the garden shed into a bar and he always looked forward to having family and friends in the bar at Christmas.
Why are you supporting the fight against cancer?
I am supporting the fight against cancer to remember the great man that my dad was, and how he tried so hard to fight cancer. I am also supporting the fight against cancer because with more awareness hopefully more lives can be saved with early detection. It’s so important to look out for any symptoms, unusual changes in your body, or any aches and pains. Never ignore any symptoms, no matter how small or silly you may think they are.
What can people do to stand up to cancer and why this year fundraising is so important?
This year has been such a challenging year for people and in particular, for charities. All monies raised will go to vital support for cancer charities and their research. People can get involved by wearing pink on Friday 4 December, share stories of their experiences with cancer, and donate through Mercury’s fundraising page.
2019 saw the launch of Be Brave: Stand up to Cancer where Mercury’s employees led a campaign that helped to raise €41,000 for cancer, we were also shortlisted in two categories at the 2020 HR Management & Leadership Awards due to the incredible efforts made by staff during the campaign.
So far this year, our Mercury staff have supported several different fundraising initiatives. As 2020 nears its end, please keep up the generous momentum and help us stay connected this Christmas season by getting involved on Friday 4th December in our Stand up to Cancer Day by wearing pink at work or at home, donating or raising awareness about cancer.