As part of #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth we chatted to Karen Hine about the path she took following her diagnosis in 2012 which led her to CancerCare as a service user and, eventually, a Trustee.
“I had my first mammogram the previous summer which came back clear and it was only through regular self-checking that I discovered, a few months later, a sizable lump. After several operations and the prospect of chemotherapy I realised that I needed some support.”
Karen joined our weekly art group which gave her some much needed relaxation and time to herself.
“It was a space for me to forget about having cancer. However, the biggest benefit for me was meeting other people who had an understanding of the turmoil that a cancer diagnosis brings. We chatted about anything and everything, sharing lots of laughter and occasionally sadness.”
When her need for our services reached an end, Karen began fundraising for us as she wanted to help ensure others could have the same access to therapy that she had. Selling handicrafts at local Christmas Fairs soon led onto involvement in the Knocker Jotter (pic), an exciting photographic project which aimed to tell the “real” stories of local women with experience of breast cancer.
In 2018, Karen began volunteering as a receptionist after leaving her job as a Teaching Assistant.
“I find it very rewarding. I like meeting and greeting people who come to Slynedales and I try to offer a warm welcome and a chat - the things I needed, and looked forward to, when I attended my own appointments.”
Karen joined our Board of Trustees, which is charged with safeguarding the future of the charity, as our first Service User Trustee and she puts her experience to good use helping shape the future direction of our service provision.
It is wonderful to have the benefit of Karen’s advice, compassion and experience at the charity and if you would like to find out more about the services we offer people affected by breast cancer – click here.