Claire Hulme I can't fully describe the intensity of shock and whirlwind of emotions I've experienced since being diagnosed with breast cancer last April, aged 35, and how difficult the intervening months have been for my family and I. The endless waiting for treatments and results, the anticipation and anxiety that accompanies it; the effects of surgery, chemotherapy and now hormone therapy on your mind and body have been incredibly difficult to deal with- one hurdle after another.

My diagnosis came completely out of the blue: no family history, no risk factors, I was in good health ​(or so I thought!), just tired like all mums of young children. ​From the beginning I desperately wanted counselling to help me process and come to terms with ​it all: ​having cancer, the extreme treatments I was being offered and the ​tough ​decisions I had to make, and the debris the brutal treatment hurricanes left in their wake- losing my breast, my hair, my energy​ and a​t times my spirit, a​ good deal of self estee​m and sense of identify. ​

For months it felt like I was trapped on a never ending, break-neck-speed rollercoaster that I had little to no control over and desperately wanted to get off of! Now it is finally slowing down and I am catching my breath, this walk is something I really want to do to give back to the WCT.

​On my first visit to the WCT ​I took my mum for moral suppor​t; ​we were greeted warmly and put at ease but they assumed mum was the patient. It is diff​i​cult having cancer at any age​ I'm sure,​ but ​I found it​ especially difficult being 'the' or one of the youngest people in every waiting room​ and initially not knowing anyone around my age with any type of cancer. I've since sought out other younger women with breast cancer which has helped me normalise it and feel less alone. ​

The warm welcome, support, counselling, acupunture and reiki I've received from Emma, Louise, Shelley, Louella and all the volunteers at the WCT, helped keep me sane; gave my week​s​ some structure other than hospital appointments; got me out of the house​ on bad days;​ and allowed me space and time to breathe, to cry, to offload, to question, to process, to reflect on how far I've come ​and​ what I need to do next, to relax, to heal, to not feel alone and overall helped me to find the strength to get through this ordeal ​to date.

I would really ​LOVE​ to give something back to them to help them ​to continue ​help​ing​ others. They not only support cancer patients but their families at a drop in centre run by volunteers with a range of activities and complimentary therapies on offer. They are a lifeline to many, many people. I would really appreciate your support, as always it makes a huge difference to ​sentimental ​old me, but in this instance it can make a difference to many.

By signing up I have pledged to raise at least £200 but I would love to raise as much as possible. ​​
With love and thanks,

Wessex Cancer Trust believe that there should be help and support available to everyone living with cancer, when and where they need it.
Community is at the heart of Wessex Cancer Trust – we put services in local communities so people affected by cancer have somewhere to go at a time when they most need support.
A diagnosis can have a huge impact on the entire family. That’s why we’re committed to providing free support to anyone affected by cancer for as long as they need us. Our six cancer support centres are safe places for people to receive the emotional, practical and physical support they need.
From coffee mornings, to craft groups and wellness classes, people come together to meet people who understand what they are going through. We’re proud that our centres are a safe community for anyone affected by cancer. Claire Hulme