Monday March 27th 2017
Karen (left) and Carol outside the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh
Written by Karen Hilton and Carol Robinson
Karen Hilton and Carol Robinson first met in the Maggie’s centre in Edinburgh. Their friendship blossomed from an unfortunate diagnosis of breast cancer last June.
Karen had an annual health assessment in January through her work which included a Mammogram. This Mammogram came back clear but unfortunately by the end of March she had found a lump. Following a doctor’s appointment, a referral to the hospital and numerous tests it was confirmed at the beginning of June that she had triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer.
TNBC (Triple negative breast cancer) is commonly linked with the BRCA1 gene (as highly publicised by Angelina Jolie) which means that there is a higher risk of cancer returning in the other breast and also in the ovaries. Due to this link she was sent for genetic testing where she found out that she carried the mutated BRCA1 gene, which then determined the course of treatment required to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.
During this time Carol had also found a lump, been through all the tests and was diagnosed with an estrogen receptive breast cancer and she too had to embark on a treatment schedule of chemo, surgery and radiotherapy.
At the beginning of chemotherapy both Karen and Carol signed up for the “Look Good Feel Good” Maggie’s course which teaches women with cancer how to manage some of the visible side effects of treatment and introduces some simple techniques that can help you feel more confident about your changed appearance.
It wasn’t until after chemotherapy and surgery and while going through radiotherapy that Karen and Carol crossed paths for a second time and when Karen mentioned the “Where Now” course, which they both promptly registered for. On completion of radiotherapy they returned to the Maggies’s centre to embark on the 6 week course, where both have found the services offered by Maggie’s to be invaluable.
The course helps you manage the physical, emotional and practical issues you may face following your treatment. The course led by a Clinical Psychologist covers topics such as: exercise, nutrition, emotional well-being, managing post treatment challenges, partnering with your medical team and keeping up momentum.
A huge benefit of the course is also meeting up with others who have been through a similar cancer journey allowing you to openly discuss any concerns, share thoughts and realise that you are not alone in the way that you feel and that your fears are perfectly natural and common. It’s not all serious and there are plenty of laughs as well, especially when it comes to the exercise session of the class!
Towards the end of the “Where Now” course Carol suggested hosting a “Maggie’s kitchen table day” in her house to raise some money for Maggie’s but she soon realised that due to demand a bigger venue would be required. Within a week the Sun Inn had been booked for early May and 80 tickets for a ladies charity dinner, raffle and auction had sold out within just 3 hours (Similar to a Take That concert!)
The girls with a strong team of helpers/organisers set to work in arranging the evening and gathering both raffle and auction prizes. Many local businesses have been approached and have kindly contributed everything from jewellery, overnight accommodation, a chef and waiter for an evening, meals, tickets, beauty products etc. The girls are already potentially talking about this possibly being an annual event and being even bigger next year.
For anyone who has missed out on the opportunity to attend the evening this year or anyone who would just like to donate there is a Just Giving page set up for this worthwhile charity or alternatively Karen and Carol would still welcome any other raffle prizes or auction items for the evening. All proceeds from the evening and donations on the Just Giving page will go towards Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre in Edinburgh.
Maggie’s Centres are very special places where people with cancer, their family, friends and carers can receive free emotional and psychological support. The centres are homely, welcoming places where people affected by cancer can go to talk to their specialists and use a wide variety of support services designed to empower people to live positively with cancer. Maggie’s rely totally on voluntary donations both for its capital costs and its on-going running costs and are therefore grateful for any support. Any support that you are able to offer, no matter how small or large is greatly appreciated.
Just giving page Maggie’s Centre Just Giving Page
To find out more about Maggie’s visit the centre’s website www.maggiescentres.orgTweet Share on Facebook