Cancerkin’s team of experienced patients are at hand for those who need to meet and talk over their concerns on a one-to-one level with someone who has been through a similar experience.
Cancerkin Experienced Patients are trained to offer just this kind of confidential support and can relate with special empathy to people awaiting or currently undergoing treatment. While they do not give medical advice, they provide a safe and reliable listening ear to patients and relatives. Contact can be arranged at any time, from diagnosis. Patients can either speak to an experienced patient over the phone or face to face.
Judy has been volunteering at Cancerkin as an experienced patient for 18 years. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29, then a young mother with two small boys.
She was terrified, knowing nothing about the illness, and having no-one to whom she could express her fears. After surgery and radiotherapy, Judy was sent home to get on with her life, unaware that having another baby could be dangerous. Within a year she fell pregnant again and three months after the birth of her daughter, Judy discovered another lump. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She was slowly able to return to her normal life but the fear of a recurrence of the cancer was constantly with her although it did diminish with time.
Several years later, Judy saw a Cancerkin advertisement in the local paper asking for ‘experienced patient’ volunteers. She had always wanted to give something back and this was the ideal way to do so. Over the years she has helped support countless women through the worst of times knowing from her own experience just how desolate, frightened and alone one can feel when breast cancer is diagnosed.
Years later, the cancer returned again, this time in the other breast and Judy again had a mastectomy followed by reconstruction. After her recovery, Judy returned to Cancerkin and is now more heavily involved than ever, as a Trustee and EP coordinator. “I love it,” she says. “It gives me the feeling that I’m making something positive out of everything I have been through”.
Cancerkin’s complementary caring services are available to patients with breast cancer, free of charge for a series of sessions, regardless of where they have been treated.