Client Angela Forgione explains how the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity supported her when she needed it the most;
I come from a large Italian family and have always had a wonderful support network around me. However little did I know how much the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity would help me when I was diagnosed with cancer.
At the age of 47 I was teaching English in Gran Canaria when I felt the lump in my breast; upon returning home to the UK I immediately booked an appointment with the doctor who sent me to Southend Hospital for tests. After a mammogram, nothing was found and I assumed nothing was wrong. My final tests involved an ultra sound and biopsy; unbeknown to me they had found cancer.
Upon receiving my test results I hadn’t even asked anyone along for support as I was so adamant that they hadn’t found anything. When I received the awful news my whole world came crashing down around me. My nurse was immediately on the phone to my beloved niece Sabrina and my eldest sister Rocchina; I needed them now more than I ever had.
After the initial shock my whole family and I decided to think positive and hold an optimistic approach to my treatments. Firstly I underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumour, next was chemotherapy and finally radiotherapy. To combat the dreadful side effects I was put on a dose of steroids. During this time I sadly lost my mother and having previously been diagnosed with Diabetes, my blood sugar levels had increased to dangerous levels. I felt depressed – rock bottom, I had constant mouth thrush and even after using a cold cap I lost most of my hair. My saving grace up until this time had been both my sisters Rocchina and Alfonsina and both my nieces, Sabrina and Natasha, my friends and family. However after speaking to a Macmillan nurse at Southend Hospital, she put me in touch with the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.
I visited the Southend Support Centre and immediately felt at ease; I was able to talk about how low I was feeling, without worrying about burdening my family who were still grieving the death of my mother. Later on I met the wonderful Debbie who I now have regular reflexology appointments with; these are the highlight of my week. To give something back to this wonderful charity I donated towards the purchase of a new therapy couch for the Support Centre and hosted a Pink Day and fundraising Zumba party. I hope my contributions will help someone else going through what I have.
Without the support I received from the charity I really don’t know if I would be here today; they have been invaluable to my emotional wellbeing and I can’t thank them enough.
If this article has raised any concerns then please contact your nearest Helen Rollason Cancer Charity Support Centre; you can find your nearest one by clicking here.