Real Stories
03 February 2022

Heather's Story

World Cancer Day 2022

Coping with breast cancer slide
Real Stories
03 February 2022

Not wishing to burden family and friends with worry is one of the key reasons people diagnosed with cancer come to us for counselling.

Being able to “offload” to a professional who can provide a listening ear and offer advice and coping strategies can be hugely valuable to someone struggling with the stress of treatment and all that it entails.

This was the situation Heather Park from Kendal found herself in March last year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’m quite an independent person and not usually one that likes to talk about feelings and emotions and didn’t like to burden family and friends with problems,” said Heather.

The Covid pandemic added to the stress of the situation as Heather had to attend many of her appointments alone and a bad experience during an MRI scan left her feeling worried and anxious, and she realised she needed a bit of extra support.

She heard about CancerCare through family and friends so she got in touch through the website and was referred for counselling with Fiona MacDonald at our Kendal Centre on Blackhall Road.

Their sessions immediately began to make a huge difference to her well-being.

“My sessions with Fiona were a massive help. It was so nice knowing that every week I had that relief and was able to go in and chat about what was going on. Most of the time I was quite upbeat but there were times when I was quite upset and found it hard to ask for help. Fiona has a great way of ‘turning things on their head’ and enabling you to think about situations in a different way.

“I was also grateful for the number of sessions I was able to have which saw me all the way through my treatment as I didn’t expect it to take so long and there were times I didn’t know how I would have coped if I had not been able to talk to her.”

Heather’s course of treatment initially began with chemotherapy at Westmorland General before undergoing surgery in October. She recently finished radiotherapy and is looking forward to returning to work in the office at PV Dobson & Sons in Levens, next month.

“I feel I have emerged from my experience with cancer a much stronger person. My sessions with Fiona have been a big part of that and in the future I would like to do some volunteering for CancerCare as a way of giving something back. It would be great to be able to use my thoughts and experiences to help the charity benefit others in a similar situation,” said Heather.

People with breast cancer account for 14% of all our clients, 32% of all our patient clients and 45% of our female patient clients.

Help CancerCare be there for other local people like Heather by donating this World Cancer Day. More than 90% of our work supporting those in our community affected by cancer or bereavement is funded by people like you who donate, fundraise or give a gift in their Will

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The perfect partnership! This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our relationship with @LakelandUK who marked it in spectacular style with a £30k donation to us! Read all about how we have helped each other over the last 3 decades, here https://t.co/7TZUbaBJEq https://t.co/aWRsHCV3VK

One of our most popular “hands-on” therapies at the moment is #reflexology - a type of massage that involves applying pressure to the feet, hands and ears which can reduce anxiety, lift mood and improve well-being. To read about why - click here https://t.co/JC7XmR3A3c https://t.co/SDrB5UEf4d