Tim, 71, is from Winchester and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He visits both the Chandlers Ford and Winchester Support Centres, after hearing about Wessex Cancer Trust through the oncology ward at Winchester Hospital.

Tim visits the Chandlers Ford Centre usually once a week for an hour session of either reflexology or reiki. He says it is

“an hour of complete relaxation whilst also being cared for at the same time; it’s a time when you can really let go. I don’t think I relax anywhere other than with Wessex Cancer Trust.”

Tim describes himself as quite a strong character, so when he received his diagnosis he experienced a feeling that was unusual for him; vulnerability. “It’s part of the package of cancer; you feel vulnerable but you don’t quite know what that feeling is, especially men. But the people at Wessex recognise that vulnerability and it’s a relief. They show you ways of accepting it’s okay to feel vulnerable. It’s a positive thing, as once it has been acknowledged and cared for, and if revealed during a course of illness, vulnerability needn’t be a weakness, but a strength.”

As someone not used to taking time to rest much, Tim had to adapt to a much slower pace lifestyle than before. He says, “what’s great about Wessex Cancer Trust, is that you’re given permission to rest and you don’t have to be strong all the time.”

Wessex Cancer Trust focuses on the non-clinical side of cancer care. We believe it is important to also concentrate on the mental and emotional wellbeing of all our clients, as well as the physical treatment they are receiving.

“Wessex can pick up on the real stuff underneath the demands for treatment that you get in hospital. They provide a continuation of the personal caring and interest in your condition and it alleviates the feeling of abandonment.”

Tim said he believes there is a difference between happiness and joy.

“Joy runs deeper than happiness. People can be happy but it’s different to feel pure joy. Coming to Wessex is actually enjoyable. People can feel good about themselves, and not like they’re being written off. They realise they don’t have to justify themselves – it’s okay to have cancer.”

Tim adopts a marvellously optimistic outlook on his diagnosis. As he is no longer susceptible to treatment, he offers words of wisdom to others; “rather than fight it, live with it – just pace yourself.”

He says, “In my opinion, cancer brings positive things with it and Wessex helps to identify those.” One of the positive aspects of cancer for Tim was the feeling of complete family care. Tim finds it incredibly reassuring knowing that his wife and his 8-year-old granddaughter, whom they care for, will be able to get the support they need after he is gone.