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Shop run entirely by cancer survivors opens for business

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Nicola Pierce at the pop-up Shop That Nearly Wasn’t in Temple Bar filled with stock contributed from cancer survivors and set up by Breakthrough Cancer Research. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

Nicola Pierce at the pop-up Shop That Nearly Wasn’t in Temple Bar filled with stock contributed from cancer survivors and set up by Breakthrough Cancer Research. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

Peter Donnelly, Nicola Pierce, David Norris, Stephen Bradley and Sarah McGahon open the shop. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

Peter Donnelly, Nicola Pierce, David Norris, Stephen Bradley and Sarah McGahon open the shop. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

Lilly Burke, Cork, and her mother Jessica Burke Walsh. Photo: Maxwells Dublin

Lilly Burke, Cork, and her mother Jessica Burke Walsh. Photo: Maxwells Dublin

Nicola Pierce at the pop-up Shop That Nearly Wasn’t in Temple Bar filled with stock contributed from cancer survivors and set up by Breakthrough Cancer Research. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

The world's first-ever shop staffed and stocked by cancer survivors has opened in Dublin to raise "much-needed" awareness and funds for research.

The Shop That Nearly Wasn't opened yesterday to mark World Cancer Day, and saw survivors of cancer staffing the shop and selling products to "highlight the urgent need for greater investment in cancer research".

The youngest contributor, Lilly Burke (10), from Cork, partnered with illustrator Peter Donnell to design tote bags bearing her drawing of a unicorn.

Lilly's rainbow unicorn was among a roomful of artwork, photography, books, crafts, clothing and protective sports gear made by survivors.

"I think the shop is really cool. I made a bag with a unicorn on it and then there is loads of things that other people made," said Lilly, who overcame cancer as a toddler.

"I don't really remember having cancer because I was really young but I remember all of the nurses were really nice and I had to be carried out to the car a lot in the middle of the night to go to hospital.

"And that mam was really worried about me."

The shop was opened by Senator David Norris, himself a survivor of cancer. "You're all marvellous, darling," he shouted.

Mr Norris said that the reason behind the name The Shop That Nearly Wasn't was that "the shop nearly didn't exist because the people nearly didn't exist".

EMPTY

Yet one section of the shop has been left empty, because although "we have made tremendous advancements in most cancers", Mr Norris said, "there are still some that are intransient".

He added: "In my day, there were three dreadful diseases: TB was a death sentence, Aids was a death sentence, cancer was a death sentence.

"Well, now we've made huge advances in the first two, they're not death sentences anymore, and we're still battling cancer but I think we'll win."

Over the coming week, the shop will host a series of events including a Six Nations preview with Tony Ward, a hat-making workshop with celebrity milliner Sarah McGahon, and a reading from film and TV director Stephen Bradley - all cancer survivors - and more.