Fiona’s Story

“I have endured cancer twice. My first battle came in 2002 when I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, and I underwent a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. At the same time my husband was having extensive radiotherapy for throat cancer, plus we were dealing with the every day issues of bringing up an Autistic child.

It was during this challenging time that I first visited the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity in Chelmsford. I remember quite clearly how welcoming the staff were, and what a serene, relaxing environment it was. I was offered a cup of tea, and appointments were made for me to have some complementary therapies, alonside my medical treatment.

Having a relaxing aromatherapy massage or reflexology session felt wonderful. I found it beneficial for my health and well being, and I would come away feeling more positive. I also met some amazing people, with such strength and courage, which I found inspiring. It wasn’t a sad place, on the contrary there was plenty of laughter, and everyone was made welcome.

More than a decade later I was devastated to be told that my cancer had returned. Being told you have cancer once is bad enough but to have it strike again was awful. This time it was grade 3, invasive and aggressive. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was very scared, and fearful of what lay ahead. This time radiotherapy was not an option, and I underwent a mastectomy, and five months of chemotherapy.

Once again I turned to the HRCC for support. I had several aromatherapy and reflexology sessions which helped me to relax, deal with my stress and heal. I was able to talk things through with caring staff who understood the emotional turmoil that comes with a a diagnosis of cancer.

It helped to meet other people who were in a similar situation. Everyone had their own story to tell. There was no judging, each person is different, and as I discovered we all handle our cancer in our own way. I made some wonderful friends, and even now nearly two years later, we still meet every month for catch ups. I call them my cancer-free girls!


Looking back I know that it has been a tough journey, one of the worst aspects for me was not losing my hair, but losing my taste buds following the chemotherapy. I love my food, and everything tasted disgusting, I felt sick, with ulcers in my mouth, and aches in my bones. Thankfully it is over now and I am recovering well.

I am grateful to the HRCC for their support and I think we as a community are fortunate to have such an incredible charity on our doorstep. The work carried out makes a difference to the lives of many people. “

Nearly £800 was raised from a Vintage Tea and Cake Party held on behalf of Fiona in aid of HRCC. Two of Fiona’s friends Carol Cranfield and Carol Kentesber, organised the event and Fiona was very moved at their dedicated.

” The ‘two Carols’ dedicated many hours in planning for the event, and of course baking the delicious cakes. I was overwhelmed by their kindness and the donations made by all the ladies attending. We enjoyed a fun and entertaining afternoon.”

If Fiona’s story has inspired you to hold a Tea for Helen party for your family, friends, work colleagues or customers then email or call 01245 380719, for your free pack, personalised invites and posters and advice from the team.

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We are calling on everyone in our community to play a vital role in helping us to fundraise which will allow us to continue enabling quality of life while living with cancer.