A BANK worker — who successfully donated a kidney to a colleague — has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Brave Helen Cavanagh, aged 51, donated a kidney to Royal Bank of Scotland colleague Julie Rogers on December 27.

But less than two months later, in February this year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mrs Cavanagh’s cancer is not linked to the organ donation and the bank worker is urging others to back The Bolton News’ campaign Sign Up To Save Lives.

She is now on medication to shrink the lump in her breast but may still face chemotherapy.

She said: “I was diagnosed in February and I’m on some tablets and they are trying to shrink the lump before I have an operation.

“I’ve not had much luck really since doing the operation. When I went back to see the surgeon four weeks after the operation he said I couldn’t do anything for three months.

“I walked all the way back to Bury from Manchester — that was me having a bit of a strop.”

The pair went into Manchester Royal Infirmary for the operation on Boxing Day.

Mrs Cavanagh, from Elton in Bury, added: “I had such a positive experience doing this, there were no problems at all.

“Julie was just existing, she did not have a life, she was not able to go to work because she was on dialysis.

“I don’t text her every day, I don’t ring her. I want her to get on with her life now.

“I do not regret my decision at all.”

Ms Rogers, from Westhoughton and now lives in Hindley, has suffered for years from polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition which has claimed the lives of three family members.

The mother-of-two has made good progress since the operation and is set to return to work in August.

Ms Rogers said: “It was absolutely terrible to hear.

“It’s horrible as she has gone through so much and then she gets diagnosed with this such a short time after.

“She has been really positive about it.

“She is such a strong lady and does so much for charity. She is unbelievable really.”

Ms Rogers, aged 45, was diagnosed at 23 after she had given birth to her second child, with her symptoms worsening in the last 10 years.

She was trying to work full-time while on dialysis machines five nights a week and could not travel anywhere unless it was close to a hospital with a dialysis machine.

She said: “I needed this operation as you cannot be on dialysis forever. They want you off it within three years as it can cause other problems.

“I am in complete discharge now from transplant.

“A kidney lasts 10 years on average but sometimes people have them for 25 to 30 years. I’m hoping it will be like that obviously.

“I can’t thank Helen enough. She was willing to put her life on hold for me.”

Ms Rogers’ aunt died last year aged 68 while waiting for a kidney while her mother is also on dialysis and waiting for a transplant. Both were diagnosed with the disease in their late 40s.

To Sign Up to Save Lives, go to the NHS organ donor register at organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 62323.