Meet people we've helped
Debbie from Cardiff is a busy mum who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.
"I found a large lump in early 2014 but as I’d just stopped breastfeeding, I thought it was just natural changes. I went to my GP just in case and was diagnosed with breast cancer when Rory was just two years old - as a single mum it was a terrifying prospect.
"Two weeks later I was having surgery. After that I began four months of chemo. This was particularly tough as my family don’t live nearby, so I didn’t have any support. Because of the side effects, two weeks out of every three I wasn’t able to look after Rory and I really struggled to get help paying for nursery care. Tenovus Cancer Care discussed my financial concerns with me and even applied for a grant on my behalf to help with the costs. Being a single mum, and unable to work, this money was vital.
"I was lucky enough to have my chemotherapy on the Tenovus Cancer Care Mobile Support Unit. It’s a lovely, friendly, professional environment that I can get to quickly and easily and not wait long for my treatment. An absolute godsend when Rory needs to come with me. It’s a comfortable and intimate environment where you’re known as a person, not just a patient."
Anita from Ferndale was diagnosed with cancer last year. A friend suggested she speak to one of our Cancer Support Advisors.
“I found a lump but didn’t do anything about if for a couple of months. I’d had three out when I was in my 20s and they were nothing. It was also just a couple of months before my daughter was getting married so I thought I’d wait until after the wedding. I wasn’t going to say anything the day I was in the doctors, but I just blurted it out.
“Within two weeks I was down the hospital. I was diagnosed just before Christmas and in January I had my surgery. Luckily I didn’t need chemo.
“A friend recommended I speak to Tenovus Cancer Care about some benefits. I didn’t think I was entitled to anything, but I spoke to Claire and she filled in the PIP (Personal Independence Payments) form for me, and she managed to get me a blue badge too. I can’t thank Tenovus Cancer Care enough for the help I’ve had.”
Claire from Port Talbot had her treatment for breast cancer on our Mobile Support Unit in Swansea on a Saturday.
"I work Monday to Friday so when the doctor told me I could have my treatment on Tenovus Cancer Care’s Mobile Support Unit on a Saturday, I jumped at the chance.
"It’s much, much easier. The location of the Unit in town means I can just get the train in, and even do a bit of shopping afterwards too.
"I would tell anyone who was working to go to the Unit on a Saturday. You’re in and out – no hanging about like at the hospital. When you have treatment in the hospital, you’re always worried that you’re going to catch a cold or get ill, but you don’t get that on the Mobile Support Unit as it's fewer patients. That gives you peace of mind."
Gill from Cardiff was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2014.
“I’d been having mammograms for the last ten years, so when, in January 2014, I was recalled I skipped along expecting to be one of the four in five recalled women who are okay. Half an hour later I walked out and lent against the railings and whispered to myself, “I have breast cancer”. It was an oestrogen-positive size two tumour in my left breast.
"Two weeks later I had an operation to remove the part of the breast where the tumour was. As a result of the biopsy taken during this op, it was found that I had a small amount of cancer cells in my left sentinel lymph gland, so I had a second operation two weeks later to remove the lymph nodes. Unfortunately between these operations, my mother died which compounded the misery.
"After my surgery I needed radiotherapy and a course of chemotherapy too. Throughout my treatment I was lucky enough to have regular phone calls from Jane on the Tenovus Cancer Care Support Line (0808 808 1010 - 365 days a year). Her gentle voice and understanding comments were a lifeline, sometimes just at the right time.
"Eventually in November 2014 my treatment was over! I celebrated at my daughter’s wedding. The support given to me by Tenovus Cancer Care was so important. Overall from diagnosis to completion of my medical treatment, the quality of care I have received has been second to none!”
Barbara from Wrexham had breast cancer in 2008 and was diagnosed last year with secondary breast cancer. Until her most recent diagnosis, she was the Chair of our Wrexham Friends of Tenovus Cancer Care group.
“I joined the Wrexham Sing with Us Choir back in July 2013. During one of our rehearsals, we had a talk from the local Community Fundraiser who told us about the Friends of Tenovus Cancer Care groups.
I wanted to become involved in fundraising as I knew the importance of raising money to support the many excellent services Tenovus Cancer Care provides for cancer patients like myself, and their families all over Wales.
So a few weeks after the talk, myself and five other members of our Choir formed the Wrexham Friends group! We’ve been going for three years now. The satisfaction that comes from knowing money raised will help someone affected by this terrible disease is huge.
When I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in December 2016 I had to resign from Chair to concentrate on my health. New advances in drug therapies mean that I can carry on almost as normal, and so now have the huge privilege to be a new member of the Tenovus Cancer Care Research Advisory Group (RAG), who help guide the organisation’s research funding.
Having had a science background all of my working life, I see this role as a wonderful opportunity to be involved in directing funds raised towards areas of essential research, which could help to uncover advances in therapies for so many areas of cancer. As a patient I am thankful for those advances, and the marvellous scientists who carry out the work. It could be said that after helping to raise money, I’ve now been given this wonderful chance to see first-hand how it helps so many people.”