Claire Hulme

I can't fully describe the intensity of shock and whirlwind of emotions I have 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.

The majority of the time it has felt like being on a never ending, break-neck-speed rollercoaster that I had little to no control over, that I desperately wanted to get off of! Now it is finally slowing down this is something I would really like to do to give back.

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 leave in their wake- losing my hair, my breast​, my energy​ and a​t times my spirit and a​ good deal of self estee​m!​​

​On my first visit to the​ W​essex ​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 sort out other younger women with breast cancer which has helped me normalise it and feel less alone. ​

The counselling, reiki and warm welcome I've received from Emma, Louise, Shelley and all the volunteers at the Wessex have helped keep me sane; g​iven​ 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 I needed 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,

Claire Hulme