“I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my world changed forever.”

On Thursday 8th March at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, staff and volunteers of the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity held a cake sale of delicious goodies and craft items, raising an incredible total of £1,000 for the charity!

Patient and volunteer Adele Barr from Palmers Green, Enfield (pictured below, centre) was one of those giving up her time to help out, having used our services in the past. She told us her amazing story of fear, hope, and how the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity was there when she needed them.   

“Early December 2014 was a time I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my world changed forever. 

My surgeon wanted to operate as soon as possible so I was booked into the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton for my mastectomy on 23rd December, 2014. Christmas would have to wait. 

After surgery, my husband Leslie collected me from the hospital at 6pm and I was in a lot of pain, but relieved to be going home. I have three sons who all live in America and sadly they were not able to come and see me. Poor Leslie wasn’t in the best of health, and the following day was taken into hospital for a life threatening operation. I relied on our kind neighbours a lot during my recovery. I had also caught an infection in my wound which required a double strength of antibiotics to clear and about 10 weeks of attending hospital for dressings etc.

Whilst I was having my dressings seen to and at the same time visiting my husband each day, the MacMillan Breast Clinic Nurse suggested I really needed some help and recommended I went to the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity for support. I was nervous but decided it could be a good idea and agreed to attend a meeting.

I attended the first group session shortly after; there was a dozen or so of us in the group and we went round the circle explaining our own cancer journeys and I found it quite nerve wracking, but very interesting. I will always remember a lady sitting next to me who introduced herself as Zohreh Moftizadeh. What I didn’t realise was this lovely lady would help me more than I could possibly imagine. 

Zohreh was just deciding to begin a weekly art therapy group at Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centre at North Middlesex Hospital. She invited me along and I went not really knowing what to expect, but trying to keep an open mind. I was warmly welcomed into the group and instantly felt more calm and relaxed than I had been for months.

I enjoy painting, making crafts and knitting; the Support Centre has been proudly filled with all of our creations and it’s so wonderful to see them decorating the walls. I’ve made so many new and wonderful friends too that I know will always support me; we also chat daily on our WhatsApp group so I never feel lonely! 

The art therapy group hasn’t just been beneficial for my mental health; I’ve also learnt new skills and gained a huge amount of confidence. Furthermore I have also used the reflexology service and the 1-2-1 counselling sessions. 

To give something back to the charity, I regularly hold a craft stall with my art group friends in the entrance to North Middlesex Hospital to raise money for them.

I still attend yearly check-ups to ensure my cancer hasn’t returned, but for now the future is looking bright and I will be able to see my three beautiful grandchildren grow up. I can’t thank Helen Rollason Cancer Charity enough; they really have helped me so much and I am eternally grateful.”

For more information regarding our support centres visit http://www.helenrollason.org.uk/supportcentres/ or call 01245 380719.