A Chorley store manager who has had two close brushes with cancer is putting herself through some tough physical challenges to raise money to help combat the disease.
Gillian Purgac, who beat cervical cancer only a year after she lost her mother to breast cancer, recently took part in a nerve-jangling bungee jump to raise more than £200 for the world-famous Christie cancer hospital in Manchester.
Now Gillian, who is in charge of the B&M Bargains store in Market Walk shopping centre, is planning to do something even more terrifying for someone who is frightened of heights, her first parachute jump, accompanied by one of her sons.
Gillian, who lives in Chorley with her husband Salih and their two sons, Luke, 23, and 19-year-old Scott, has worked at the store for the past four years.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Gillian was diagnosed with cervical cancer but after a period of intense treatment at Preston Hospital she was eventually given the all-clear and says she now feels fine.
However, her family’s earlier experience with the disease had a very different outcome when her 72-year-old mother, June Lamb, who also lived in Chorley, died from breast cancer. All this left Gillian determined to do something to help other cancer patients and fund research into finding new treatments for the condition.
Gillian said: “It was just a few weeks ago when myself and Amanda Penny, who also works with me, did the jump which was set up on a big machine in the car park of the Hayrick pub in Leyland.
“It was what is known as a reverse bungee jump, which means they put you inside a big ball attached by elastic ropes to two tall gantries.”
Fresh from her stomach-churning bungee ride, Gillian is now planning her latest fundraising challenge, which will be a sponsored parachute jump.
She said: “I’ll be doing it with my eldest son Luke, who also works her as a night manager, and two of the other lads from the store.
“We will probably fly from an airfield in the Lake District which specialises in organising charity jumps.