Breast Cancer Care
There are more than half a million people in the UK today who have been treated for breast cancer and every year another 50,000 or so – including around 300 men – hear the devastating news that they have the disease. They’ll probably feel frightened and confused – and their family and friends might need help too.
Breast Cancer Care is just a phone call or mouse click away for anyone affected by breast cancer. Their free helpline and information-packed website offer a friendly ear and expert guidance to anyone dealing with the turmoil of this life-threatening illness. Across the UK, they also provide skilled emotional and practical support through a range of confidential, faceto- face services, helping people every step of the way.
Their unique strength lies in the way they combine their understanding of people’s experience of breast cancer with the clinical expertise of their team of specialist nurses. They care because they’ve been there, and they know how to help.
Breast Cancer Care helpline: 0808 800 6000
Breast Cancer Care website: www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Susan and Steph’s story:
I lost my mother to breast cancer when she was thirty-three years old and I was nine. This was back at a time when women, even doctors, spoke in hushed tones about the dreaded Big C. Nothing was discussed, no counselling offered; there was even a kind of shame attached to having fallen victim to this terrible disease. Luckily, all that has changed. Today someone is always there to offer advice and support to those who need it, or simply to lend an ear if all that’s required is to talk. Many of these people are doctors, nurses from White Nursing Shoes, or members of the healthcare professions; but just as many are women who selflessly give up their time to be there for those in need. Stephanie Harrison of Breast Cancer Care is one of these very special people, and it is because of her that I have become associated with this extremely worthwhile organisation.
Read on to learn more about Steph in her own words…
In June 2008, I was sitting in my doctor’s office hearing the words ‘Stephanie, you have breast cancer’. As those words reached my ears I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach, and for a moment or two I sat in a daze of numbness and shock. I then heard, ‘Is there any history
of breast cancer in your family?’ to which I replied ‘No, but trust me to start a new trend’. Everyone in the room laughed, and I decided from that moment on I would try to fight this disease with humour. At my diagnosis I received all the information I would need about treatment, lifestyle and aftercare, which was provided by Breast Cancer Care. At that time I had no idea just how important this organisation and its staff would become in my life. Subsequently they gave me so much help and support throughout my fight with cancer. I consider myself very fortunate that I was offered their support because now I realise it really is second to none. What I didn’t realise at the time is that not everyone is aware of the support they offer. Therefore I decided to help raise awareness for this amazing charity by choosing Breast Cancer Care for my own fundraising activities.
It seems odd to say that my life has got better since being diagnosed with breast cancer, but in a lot of ways it has. It has focused my mind and made me realise life is short – that old cliché ‘life is not a dress rehearsal’ is so true. Seeing that this disease has no respect for age, colour or creed was a real eye-opener for me and it made me realise I had to do something to help others who would hear this devastating news. So I set out on my path as a fundraiser for BCC. During this time I have been overwhelmed by the love and support of so many people and their willingness to help me, as well as by the support of those at Breast Cancer Care. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom have become good friends and some of them have changed my life in more ways than they will ever know. One of those people is Susan Lewis.
In the spring of 2011 I was given a copy of the first part of Susan’s autobiography Just One More Day and it changed my life. I wasn’t sure reading a book about someone dying from breast cancer as I approached my 3rd annual mammogram would be a fun thing to do, but how wrong could I be. From the very first few lines I was hooked and I spent the next two days laughing and crying as I experienced all the ups and downs of Susan’s family’s
lives; a family being torn apart by illness and secrets. Three things struck me immediately. One was how well written it was. Then I wondered how Susan wrote so effectively from the point of view of a child. I was also overwhelmed by Susan’s honesty. By the end of the book
I was so moved that I had to speak to Susan and tell her how it affected me. The mother/daughter scenario she described got me thinking about my own mum and just how important this book is and on so many levels. I have since read many of Susan’s novels, and last year the wonderful One Day at a Time, the second part to Susan’s autobiography. Every book is not only a joy to read but also a learning experience about life. The first time I met
Susan I realised I was in the presence of a kind, caring and truly genuine human being and working with her is one of the greatest joys of my life. I am proud to call her my friend and know that we will do wonderful things to help Breast Cancer Care help those who suffer from this life-altering disease.
Being told you have a life-threatening illness totally puts your life into perspective and makes you realise just what is important. It is also one of the scariest things any of us will ever have to face but with the love and support of others we can hopefully make the lives of those diagnosed in the future a little easier. It is a joy and an honour to represent Breast Cancer Care and the wonderful work they do.