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World Cancer Day: "Unitree" event comes to life at Westfield Shopping Centre to raise awareness

Thursday February 4 marks World Cancer Day; and Westfield Shopping Centre have set up a special event to help raise awareness

The special "Unitree" at Westfield Shopping Centre in support of Cancer Research UK(Image: Westfield London)

A special "Unitree" came to life at Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd's Bush to raise money and awareness of World Cancer Day on Thursday (February 4).

The event, set up by Cancer Research UK, invited shoppers to collect a Unity Band from volunteers and have a photograph taken which then hung with others on a tree, to symbolise unity in the face of cancer. Shoppers also wrote personal messages on the picture to create a tree of mutual support.

The charity is encouraging Londoners to wear a Unity Band or make a donation to demonstrate their support for people affected by cancer.

Emily Attwood, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for London, said: "World Cancer Day provides an opportunity for people in London, all across the UK and beyond, to 'band together' for this one special day and show that united we can beat cancer sooner.

"Thanks to research more people are surviving cancer than ever, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that more families can stay together for longer.

"Wearing a Unity Band is a simple way to show your support and be part of the generation that transforms the lives of the millions of people affected by cancer. Together we can all do something to reduce the impact of this devastating disease."

World Cancer Day comes as three beloved stars, David Bowie , Alan Rickman and Terry Wogan tragically died of cancer at the beginning of 2016.

Support in Hillingdon

Hillingdon's Macmillan Information and Support Centre, based in Hillingdon Hospital, aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, and helped more than 2,500 people in the last year alone.

The centre offers a range of services to those affected by cancer and is staffed by a Macmillan Specialist Nurse and supported by 12 volunteers.

Lorraine Barton, Macmillan Cancer information and support nurse, said: “World Cancer Day is important in raising awareness as we know that cancer affects almost everyone, whether directly or because they know a family member or friend that's been affected.

“It can be so isolating having cancer, but in my job I often hear people say that it makes a world of difference to have someone to talk to and reassure me that 'I'm not on my own'.”

Services can be assessed simply by dropping in to the centre without an appointment or by calling 01895 279169 to arrange a call from home.

The centre offers help and advice on important issues such as living with cancer and treatments, benefits advice, keeping fit and the role of carers.

As well as providing direct information and support, the centre works closely with the Macmillan Cancer Support charity and the community to help connect people with the services they require.

The centre often refers patients for therapy with a local provider or direct them to survivorship or cancer rehabilitation programmes for physical activities.

World Cancer Day Unity Bands are available for a suggested donation of £2 from all Cancer Research UK shops and online .

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