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made for life magazine Issue 1

8

ways to nurture yourself

hair cares coping with hair loss

Art attack creative therapy Beautiful people

have a spa treat for charity Forget about the money

where to get financial help


Contents 3. Welcome 4. News and events 6. Wendy’s story 8. eight ways to nurture yourself 10. Heavenly healing : discover our new therapy room 12. Hair cares : how to cope with losing your locks 16. Behind the scenes at the 2015 Made For Life calendar shoot 20. Art attack : Mandy Farrar on why her workshops help to save lives 24. The children’s story : when parents must break the news of diagnosis 26. the call of the wild 29. Forget about the money : help with work issues and financial worries 30. Who else can help : useful links and phone numbers 31. How you can help : how people are getting involved with Made For Life


welcome

The choices you make can dramatically affect the experience of going through the cancer journey. Our goal is to offer opportunities which will make things that little bit easier. Those diagnosed with cancer are welcome to visit us at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre near the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. You may wish to pop in for a cup of tea and someone to talk things through with. You could also try one of the special Spiezia spa therapies devised for people having cancer treatment in our on-site treatment room.  Sometimes our room at the HWIC is a peaceful, private place where you can simply sit and be alone, if that is what you want and need. Or, if you prefer some compa​ny and a day that does not revolve around cancer, you might enjoy one of our Above: Wendy Everhard (left) with Amanda Barlow, pamper days, or art workshops. Each month founder of the Made For Life foundation we arrange a day when people who are going through, or Welcome to the first ever Made who have experienced the cancer journey, For Life magazine. As a charity, meet up, do something fun and share we offer support for anyone going can their stories, or simply have a ‘day off’ from through the cancer journey and cancer. In this magazine we aim to show you a their friends and family. Made little about what we do, as well as offering For Life is about us, our health practical help. Inside you will find and the way we live. It is about some articles on issues ranging from hair loss making choices that not only to your financial and legal rights once you contribute to our own wellbeing, have been diagnosed. but that contribute to the We’ve also included a few simple wellbeing of the world we live in. suggestions of ways to take care of yourself whilst going through treatment, recovery, or just to help you cope with day to day life. The cancer journey is difficult and sometimes frightening, but we are here to let you know it isn’t a journey that you have to make alone.

Wendy Everhard Manager of the Made For Life Foundation Made For Life Foundation // 03


about us // Events

&events news

Made For Life Foundation // 04


about us // events

Time to dance Many thanks to everyone who has supported this year’s annual Made For Life ball at The Falmouth Hotel on Friday, September 26, 2014. A week in a Porthleven holiday cottage and a night at Una St Ives, with spa treatments included, are amongst the prizes for this year’s auction and raffle. Many thanks also to Proper Job Disco for the after dinner dancing.

trained therapists can help you look and feel fantastic, with 10 per cent of all proceeds going to the Made For Life foundation. Email us at info@madeforlife.org or call 01326 221777 for a full list of treatments and to book an appointment.

who allowed themselves to be styled and photographed without having any idea how they would look when they appeared before the camera… Buy your copy: www.spieziaorganics.com/ spiezia-shop/made-for-life

future fundraising

Musical mood lifter

Talented harpist and singer songwriter Abi Piercy (pictured, left) has teamed up with Wendy Everhard and Liz Betts, a radiographer at singer songwriter and music producer Ben Winwood and the inspirational Culdroses the Sunrise Centre will be taking on the Great Wall Trek in China from April 25 to May 3, 2015. (The Cornwall branch of the Military Wives choir) to make two wonderfully uplifting To sponsor them visit mydonate.bt.com Meanwhile Juliette Hathaway from Perranporth tracks especially for the Made For Life foundation. The song Someone To Know has will be supporting us by running the London featured on BBC radio and contains messages Marathon on April 26. Sponsor Juliette at of hope and strength that will resonate with uk.virginmoneygiving.com anyone. For those seeking a little tranquillity, The Ocean Horizon is a beautiful, calm melody, inspired by the idyllic area of the Fal estuary known as the Carrick Roads here in Cornwall. The CD is £5 with all proceeds going to the Made For Life foundation. Visit the Spiezia website link below to order your copy: www.spieziaorganics.com /spiezia-shop/made-for-life

Have a facial for charity Forget marathons and skydives, why not raise some money to support those going through cancer by enjoying a relaxing Spiezia spa treatment. The new salon has now opened to the public in the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre near the Royal Cornwall Hospital and offers a range of treatments ranging from luxury facials to massages. Our

Made For Life calendar 2015 It’s that time of year again when we unveil next year’s calendar. Find out more on page 16 about how the very talented and hard-working teachers and students at Penryn College helped to bring about this year’s fantastic photographs. Meanwhile, the very talented team at Hush Creative have been busy choosing the cream of this year’s top secret images ready for the calendar to go on sale. Thanks also go to the very brave 12 Made For Life members

Get all the latest news… Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/made4life and on Twitter @madeforlife to hear about new workshops, pamper days and events Made For Life Foundation // 05


wendy's story

wendy’sstory Wendy Everhard is the manager of the Made For Life Foundation. Here she shares her experience of going through the cancer journey.

I

t was in 2007 when I went for the checkup that resulted in my diagnosis of breast cancer. I had been living with a lump for 12 years. Every six months I had either a mammogram or ultra sound. I had also been given a few biopsies to make sure the lump was benign. When I relocated to Cornwall with my husband and daughter, in 2005 I had to change consultants. I went to see a consultant at the Mermaid Centre, which specialises in breast cancer care at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, and he agreed to do one set of tests for me. The results all came back clear. He told me to go away and live my live and stop being paranoid. I had lost my beloved mum to cancer three years previously and he thought this was clouding my judgement regarding my lump. Eighteen months passed and it was December 2007. I was really looking forward to Christmas, for the first time since Mum had died. Plans had been made to see family and friends. But in the back of my mind I still wasn’t happy about having a lump so after 18 months since my last check I decided to go back to my consultant. He did a small biopsy and said it looked clear so go away and enjoy Christmas. I was sitting in my car the next day waiting for my daughter to come out of school when my phone rang. It was my consultant telling me I had to go straight to the Mermaid Centre, it wasn’t good news. I was diagnosed with a grade three tumour and told it was likely the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes also. If this was the case they could only give me a 30 per cent chance of survival. It was then

06 // Made For Life Foundation

that I decided that the best thing for me to do was to have a double mastectomy and all my lymph nodes taken away from the cancerous side. At first my consultant wasn’t happy about my decision but as my husband was supportive, pointing out “it’s Wendy’s body and her choice, no one else’s”. I had the operation on January 4, 2008. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel afterwards when I looked down to see nothing where my boobs should have been. When I put my hand to my chest and the only way I could describe it was that it was like putting your hand under a frozen chicken! I could feel my rib cage. That did give the nurses a good laugh. I went on to have one of the strongest chemotherapy treatments they could give me. I was lucky as I could have this at home, so every three weeks our lounge turned into a mini treatment room. My hair fell out; to me this was worse than losing my boobs. I could wear high neck tops and no one could tell as I also had prosthesis. But my hair was different. Even wearing a wig or a hat didn’t help. After the chemo I then had to have five weeks of radiotherapy. I went every day to the Sunrise Centre. My skin wasn’t affected too much but I did get very tired. This I think was a combination of emotion of going to the centre every day and seeing others going through it, combined with the radiotherapy itself. I have since had full LD Flap reconstruction using my back muscles. I will be on drugs for another five years but I am still here to tell my story. There have been some dark times but also some fun ones. I have meet and made lifelong friends along the way. In a strange kind of way it

has given me some good things that I could only have dreamed of. I live in a house overlooking the sea in a lovely Cornish village that I found through another lady I met at a support group who is now a special friend. And while I was still going through my treatment I was asked to work for the Made For Life Foundation. Having that to focus on, and the fact I was able to help others, really helped me to get through my treatment. Of course the cancer journey is very different for everyone. But I never fail to be inspired by the many people who visit us here at the drop-in centre and therapy room at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre, Treliske, Truro. Every month we put on a day for people to come and try new things with other people going through the same thing. Without realising it we are helping each other and inspiring each other just by chatting and sharing our stories. At times it can be a bit harrowing because the memories are very painful, I understand only too well how frightening and painful this journey can be. But my cancer journey has led me to do a job that I love: talking to people and helping them through their treatment.


wendy's story

Now: Wendy and her daughter Megan at a friend’s wedding

Road to recovery: Finding time to enjoy time together

Taking time out: Wendy during her treatment

Made For Life Foundation // 07


8 ways to nurture yourself

8

ways to

A few little choices which can help to revive your mind, body and spirit... Enjoy a massage

Made For Life offers massage therapies tailor-made for those undergoing treatment for cancer, carried out by specially trained therapists using Spiezia products which are known to be safe for those undergoing chemotherapy. As well as being a wonderfully relaxing experience for you when you may be going through stressful times. Massage can help to reduce anxiety, pain and improve your quality of sleep and enhance your mood, helping you to feel nurtured and positive. For details of Spiezia treatments at the Made For Life treatment room at the Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre, call 01326 221777. Go for a walk

More and more studies are supporting the fact that walking regularly can help to improve survival rates in some forms of cancer and reduce the risk of reoccurrence. As well as helping to beat the disease, other studies show that walking regularly can help to reduce fatigue following chemotherapy or radiation. Nordic walking, which involves using poles to propel yourself along can be particularly therapeutic for those with breast cancer as it strengthens the muscles in the shoulders and arms making it very beneficial. “It is considered a safe way to exercise for those suffering with breast cancer and also lymphodema and it is gentle on the joints,” says Kelly Bennet of the Nordic walking group Walk Kernow. “In addition, as Nordic Walking is an exercise that is done outside in nature it helps to lift your mood which is very important to those going through this lifechanging experience.” Made for Life members are welcome at Walk Kernow Beginners Workshops and benefit from a 10% discount (private sessions also offered). www.walkkernow.co.uk Breathe in healing aromas

Some studies have shown that aromatherapy can help to reduce levels of pain, anxiety and sometimes nausea in cancer patients. It’s believed that the powerful scents of essential oils affect the part of the brain that controls moods and emotions. Aromatherapy treatments vary from a relaxing massage with essential oils diluted in carrier oils, to adding the diluted oils to a bath and relaxing in the calming fragrance, to using an oil burner. Find a qualified aromatherapist at the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, www.cnhc.org.uk.

08 // Made For Life Foundation


8 ways to nurture yourself

nurture yourself Spend time with friends

When going through cancer it can be difficult to maintain social ties and go out to see friends, but research shows that those who spend time with their friends actually have a better chance of survival and experience fewer symptoms than those who don’t have a good support system. “Certainly, spending time with friends improves the quality of life,” says Macmillan nurse Nicola Capurro of BMI Healthcare. A good way to make new friends who really understand what you are experiencing at this time is to join a social support group, such as Made For Life. “A group such as this can give you a sense of belonging and valuable emotional support,” says Rosie Taylor, complementary therapist who specialises in treatments for chronic health conditions. Stick to your normal routine

Obviously your treatment and your health problems may prevent you from keeping exactly the same routine as previously, but Nicola Capurro says, try to stick to ‘normal’ as much as you can. “It can be very tempting to stop doing things you used to do, such as volunteer work or family get togethers, but beware of giving yourself nothing to think about but the cancer. Make time for distractions, whilst resting when you need to.” Eat clean

There have been a lot of studies concerning specific diets and supplements, but no clear evidence to suggest these can help people during or after cancer. What is known is that eating the recommended healthy balanced diet, which includes at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and protein each day gives your body the best nutrition to help you cope physically and emotionally. “I always say, eat clean,” says Rosie Taylor. “By this I mean reduce sugary foods and limit your intake of processed foods, pre-packed ready meals with lots of additives. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. But don’t beat yourself up if you have the occasional ready meal on days when you are just too tired to cook.” Also check with your care team if you are undergoing chemotherapy, as it may be best to avoid some foods such as blue cheeses when your immune system is low. Meditate

There are several different kinds of meditation, ranging from mindfulness (visit mindfulnesscornwall.co.uk), to guided meditation, spiritual meditation and meditation linked with physical activities, such as yoga and Tai Chi. Even enjoying an absorbing hobby, such as gardening can help you to calm and control your thoughts – a key part of meditation. Studies have shown that meditation can help to improve your mood, reduce depression and even boost your immune system. Watch a comedy

It has long been said that a good old rip roaring laugh is the best medicine and some research shows that watching a comedy that makes you laugh for around 20 minutes can reduce blood pressure, stress hormones and boost your appetite. Of course, it helps that laughter goes hand in hand with other positive emotions, such as hope, optimism and simple joy – all valuable weapons on the cancer journey. Made For Life Foundation // 09


time for you

time

foryou

The new Made For Life treatment room is now open at the Health and Wellbeing Centre, open to all, with special therapies for those undergoing cancer treatment

W

hether you or a loved one are going through the turbulence of the cancer journey, or you would simply like somewhere peaceful to enjoy a really relaxing facial or a massage, the new Made For Life treatment room is now open in the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre near the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Based as it is in the heart of Spiezia Organics, the whole space is filled with the beautiful aromas of the natural plant extracts and oils which are used in the products. And the treatment room itself is a haven of cloud soft towels, deep, vibrant purples and utter peace. There are treatments available for everyone, ranging from a 30 minute stress relieving back, shoulder and body massage, to a rejuvenating radiance facial, where your face and décolletage will be cleansed, toned and massaged with Spiezia oils selected to make your skin feel soft and supple. There are also full body massage treatments, including the Made For Life signature treatment, the Head In Heaven experience. Devised by therapist Shane Edwards who specialises in oncology massage, this treatment is blissful for all, but it is also specially designed to allow those going through chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, to enjoy a relaxing massage which complements and does not contraindicate the medical treatment, or worsen side effects. “The touch is very gentle, so there

10 // Made For Life Foundation

is no deep tissue massage,” explains Cherilyn Williams, one of the specially trained Made For Life therapists. “Our touch is always very light, and the slow, flowing movements are designed to send someone into what is known as the parasympathetic state, not quite asleep, but deeply relaxed — the optimum state for the body to heal.” The Head In Heaven treatment also covers the head, back and abdomen area, avoiding arms and areas which might be affected by lymphodena, a possible side effect of chemotherapy. Other treatments, such as the head, back and shoulder massage are also appropriate for those going through cancer treatment. Those who have been diagnosed and close family are eligible for highly discounted prices for the therapies, whilst everyone else can enjoy really top of the line Spiezia treatments at competitive costs, in the knowledge that ten per cent of the proceeds will be going straight to the Made For Life Foundation. So, next time you visit the hospital, or whenever you would just like a little me time, try a treatment that leaves you feeling fabulous in body and soul.

To book a treatment or request a full list of treatments, call 01326 221777 or email us at : madeforlifefoundation@gmail.com


time for you

Photographs by Victoria Carpenter and Rachel Hall

Made For Life Foundation // 11


Hair cares

cares

Hair

Concerns over hair loss may seem superficial given what those on the cancer journey are facing. But there are good reasons why this potential side effect of treatment often causes very real distress.

12 // Made For Life Foundation

F

or me, losing my hair was one of the most traumatic things about having cancer,” says Andi Gay, who has now been clear of breast cancer for five years. “I had really lovely thick hair, which I was proud of and the idea of losing it was awful. In the end I cut my hair short, and eventually shaved it rather than lose it bit by bit, but there were a lot of tears.” It may seem surprising at first to discover that many men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer find that hair loss due to chemotherapy is, as Andi described, one of the most distressing things they have to face. But as Nicola Capurro, a Macmillan nurse for BMI healthcare explains, it is very common. “Hair loss is a visual reminder of the cancer treatment,” explains Nicola. “Also, it comes at a time when you are already facing so many other awful things and feeling very vulnerable.” “For me, it was the fact that it is such a public thing to happen,” says Jo Barker, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2013 and underwent chemotherapy from April to August 2014. “When I realised that I was going to lose my hair, for a while that was the thing I worried about most. I had long, chestnut hair and well-defined eyebrows that I thought were among my best features.” As Nicola explains, the level of distress experienced is really very personal to each person. “It is difficult to predict how much hair will be lost and how much the person will be affected. Some people can lose all their hair and they don’t really get too distressed, others might lose just a little and find that incredibly difficult to cope with,” she says. Dr Nigel Hunt is an associate professor of psychiatry and applied psychology at the University of Nottingham. He has studied the impact of hair loss, including hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. According to Dr Hunt, many of the concerns about hair loss

are actually worries about changes in your sense of identity. “Looks are a central part of identity, and looks are to a surprisingly great extent, determined by hair,” he explains. “People will say that hair loss means that their identity has changed. While this appears to be an extreme response, there are a surprisingly large number of people who say it.” Hair loss can also be part of a downward spiral, where the person concerned feels nervous about social situations and so cuts themselves off from valuable support from those around them. “People who lose their hair can see themselves as psychologically disabled; that is, they can’t behave in the normal manner in a social situation,” explains Dr Hunt. “They are afraid of what people might say, or that people will laugh at them because they have no hair. “Many people describe problems relating to social phobia; and it is not only stopping going out socially -- some people find it difficult to go to work. This will inevitably have a knock on effect of social isolation and a lack of vital social support.” But while it is impossible to guarantee that everyone will be understanding, those who have gone through hair loss point out that many people nowadays are aware that hair loss is a sign that someone is having treatment for cancer. “I have found that many people do see me wearing a headscarf and assume correctly I am having chemotherapy,” says Jo Barker. “And, many people have been very kind and supportive as a result. I really welcome this, as I prefer to be open about what I am going through.” Perhaps the worst thing about hair loss as a result of chemotherapy is that studies have revealed that concerns about this can trigger low self-esteem and depression. “For many people, it is an additional burden to cope with on top of the cancer,”


Hair cares

MAIN PIC: by Hannah Ramsey LEFT: Andi Gay tried some extreme styles for fun whilst cutting her hair. “There were lots of tears though,” she says.

says Dr Nigel Hunt. “Everyone has to deal with hair loss in their own way, it is such a personal thing,” says Jo Barker. “What I would say is that hair loss is not something to be ashamed of nowadays. A wig might be the right answer for those who wish to keep their illness private, and the wigs nowadays are very realistic. Others are happy to go out in the world with a shaved head, have henna tattoos, or to wear headscarves and hats. “What I found was that although the idea of hair loss was horrific, the reality was that by the time my hair fell out, that concern had faded into the background. I was busy coping with my treatment. I realised that a wig would be a way to keep the fact I was being treated for cancer hidden. I chose to be open, and that was my way of accepting what was happening to me, and seeking the support I need to get through it.” “It is difficult because you cannot take away those feelings which someone is experiencing about hair loss,” says Nicola. “What we try to do as nurses is to explain as much as possible in advance so that the patient is prepared. We suggest that if someone is going to use a wig or scarf, or shave their head to cope with the side effects they think about those options in advance, because, for example, it is easier to get a wig which matches your usual style whilst you have your hair. Cutting hair short is another suggestion because if you lose your hair when it is long it is far more distressing.” And how can friends and family help? “Don’t steam in with “it will grow back” positivity and solutions.,” says Nicola. “Understand that concern about hair loss is about the deeper issues of loss of health, sense of self and the very real fears of unstoppable change. In the face of distress, sometimes just listening and giving a hug is the most helpful thing you can do.” And if you are facing endless enquiries about your hair loss or new short hairstyle,

remember that how much you share is up to you. “Defend your privacy,” says Nicola. “If someone asks and you don’t want to be rude, simply say, yes, I am being treated for cancer but do you mind if we talk about something more cheerful. How are your kids?”

things that might surprise you about hair loss

Look good, feel better

• When hair grows back, it may grow back differently to the way it was before it was lost. “For example, it may be curly when it was once straight,” says Macmillan nurse, Nicola Capurro.

The loss of hair in eyebrows and eyelashes is often very devastating because it alters appearance so drastically. “If you lose hair on your head, that area can be covered by a scarf or a wig, but this is harder to cope with,” adds Nicola. “People who lose eyelashes can also suffer from sore eyes because eyelashes help to stop water and other things getting into your eyes.” Thankfully the Look Good Feel Better charity offers expert make up lessons for those who would like advice on coping with eyelash and eyebrow loss. “You also get a really good make-up bag with leading brand cosmetics which have been donated,” adds Andi Gay. www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk Why is hair loss so distressing?

Dr Nigel Hunt of Nottingham University says these are the main reasons: • • • •

Change in your sense of identity. You may feel somehow diminished. Loss of privacy. Will you have to explain to everyone who sees you about the cancer? Change in sensuality/sexuality Sense of rejection - a feeling that those who show signs they are less healthy such as hair loss, are less accepted in society. One reason why hugs are sometimes good therapy!

• Both men and women are affected, one study in fact found that men are just as deeply affected by worries about hair loss during chemotherapy treatments as women are.

A few facts about wigs

Wigs nowadays are very different to the fancy dress style wigs we might imagine. • How much? Costs start from around £65 for a synthetic wig to around £265 full, bespoke human hair wig. Some people are exempt from charges. You can check here: www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/ Healthcosts • Synthetic wigs are relatively affordable and can be chosen to match your hair colour, texture and style. They can be worn during hair loss and whilst hair is growing back. • If you plan to buy a wig or hairpiece, get one while you still have hair. This way you can match it to the colour and texture of your natural hair. • Do take photos of yourself with different hair styles when you go for your first consultation, so the consultant can select some different wigs that might suit you.

Made For Life Foundation // 13


Jo's story: I found a way to use hair loss to help others

jo's story Jo Barker, 38, is a teacher, going through treatment for breast cancer.

I

went to the Mermaid Centre, which is a specialist unit at the hospital for diagnosing and treating breast cancer. I could tell immediately by the doctor’s response to the ultrasound that this was not a benign lump. I was given a mammogram and a biopsy following that, and although the doctor told me that it could be something other than cancer, I could see that the bright white mass that was showing up in one breast on the mammogram had spread to the lymph nodes under one arm. In my heart, I knew what the diagnosis would be. I went home to Cornwall to wait for official confirmation. It was a very difficult Christmas as I reconciled myself with the bad news that I reasoned was coming. On December 30 it was confirmed that the lump was an aggressive tumour. I had breast cancer. I’m an organiser at heart, it’s why I love being a teacher, and so my response was to think ‘right, how am I going to handle this?’ I knew hair loss would be one of the worst parts. I had 20 inches of thick, silky chestnut hair and eyebrows which I joked could silence a class of 15 year old boys when raised above a stony glare. I understood that with the particular kind of chemotherapy I would be given, TAC chemo, I would be almost certain to lose all my hair. In planning mode, I decided to have my hair cut short in time for the operation to remove the tumour in February. I knew that this would help me to cope with the

14 // Made For Life Foundation

I found a way to use hair loss to help others.

“I found the lump whilst doing a breast check last November. The GP I went to see in Hertfordshire, thought it was a benign lump but advised a routine check which I had on December 23, 2013 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. sense of loss that having my hair cut off would cause, before I got really poorly due to chemo. It would also help those close to me to get used to the idea of me with less hair, and it was also practical, because the surgery would cause difficulty in my brushing and caring for long hair as it would be hard to lift my arms. I also decided when I cut my hair very short, to have it cut specifically so that I could make a wig out of my own hair. I spoke with wig makers and a hairdresser and they cut it off in small sections which meant it would be possible for the wig makers Raoul’s -- based near Paddington in London -- to make a wig which I hoped would look like my original hairstyle. I had my hair cut off in mid-February and the wig was due to arrive in mid-April, about the time I would be losing my hair due to chemotherapy. The chemotherapy takes place in three week cycles and although it is different for everyone, hair loss tends to happen between weeks two and three of the first cycle. I began chemo in mid-April this year and by late April I had started to shed hair heavily, and so I took the decision to shave it off. But the strange thing was, when the wig arrived, I realised I didn’t want to wear it. It is always a very personal choice, but I found the wig uncomfortable. It felt weird and made me feel self-conscious. Moreover, I think, it felt as though wearing a wig hid away what was going on. This is a very good thing if you wish to be

private about your illness and treatment. But I’m not a private person and I wanted to be very open about the cancer and what I was going through. At work, I told the students face to face that I had been diagnosed and was going to have treatment, and kept everyone informed about what was happening next via Facebook. Cancer is a very horrible thing to happen, and you shouldn’t feel as if you have to face it alone if you do not want to. In the end, I embraced wearing headscarves, particularly Seasalt Handybands and silk scarves which I wore underneath wide brimmed hats. Wearing scarves meant people often realised I was going through chemotherapy and as a result, even strangers were very helpful and thoughtful. For example, when visiting a National Trust property, one of the volunteers arranged for a minibus to take me up to the house. So, I put the wig back in its box -- it just didn’t feel right. It would have remained unused in that box had I not come across a Facebook charity appeal for a young girl named Bella who suffered from alopecia. During my third chemo cycle in early June I became ill with neutropenic sepsis, a condition caused by me having a low white blood cell count. During this time I spent a lot of time looking at Facebook on my phone and I came across Bella’s Alopecia Appeal page. Bella comes from Hayle and she’s had alopecia since she was very young, and there is very little chance that her hair will ever grow back. Soon she’d be


Jo's story: I found a way to use hair loss to help others

Top left: Jo loved her long,chestnut hair before her treatment began Top right: Bella, left, tries on Jo’s real hair wig, Bottom: Jo prefers to wear head scarves as she goes through her chemotherapy

starting secondary school, wanting to be like everyone else. Her dream was to have a wig made from real hair. For alopecia sufferers who are completely bald, the ideal wig is a Freedom wig. These wigs are very like having real hair - you can go swimming with them, for example. They are held on with suction pads and made of silicone, moulded to the shape of the head. They are expensive, however, and cost about £2,500. I decided to donate the hair from my wig to Bella, so she could have her own special one made, and also her friends gave what are called ponytail donations, which do not involve having your hair cut extremely short, but cut to a bob, or the shoulder. In the end, it turned out that my wig was

more useful as a spare wig for Bella. It was specially adjusted to fit her so she could wear it whilst her Freedom wig was being made, and as an extra option in years to come. It also meant that she had one in time to begin her new school in September. I found donating my hair was helpful not just for Bella but for me. When you are diagnosed with cancer you feel out of control. Getting your hair cut short is a way of managing this feeling, but to discover there are people who can really benefit from that choice, especially children is such a wonderful thing. I’ve told Bella that when my hair grows back we will be hair twins. As well as raising the money for her own wig, she and her

mum Beth have been raising funds and awareness for other alopecia sufferers. They both went on the Demon Drop at Paradise Park 20 times and they have raised over £3,000 pledging half to a charity helping others with alopecia. I would say to anyone who has been diagnosed, especially women who have hair in good condition, to think about donating it. Most cancer patients are the receivers of charity, and so it is incredibly rewarding to help to realise a young girl’s dream and make her teenage years so much better; that is a gift to me, as well as to Bella. Visit Bella’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/alopeciaappeal Made For Life Foundation // 15


Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

Shhh, the theme of this year’s Made For Life calendar was top secret even for the models...

Unveiled: The 2015 Made For Life calendar

16 // Made For Life Foundation

I

t’s a Saturday morning and a group of brave Made For Life members are sitting in a circle surrounded by a group of young Penryn College students. The members are the 2015 calendar models, and the students’ mission, which they have gamely accepted, is to interview this years’ models to find out how they will be styled for a very special photoshoot. “The idea is that the models won’t know what they look like until the very last moment, when they are sitting in front of the camera and a mirror is unveiled,” explains Wendy Everhard, who is coordinating the project. “It’s going to be so fantastic,” she continues. “We have some really talented stylists on board, and they, together with the students are going to create a special look for each model that will be really dramatic and stunning. Then, at the moment that the models see themselves in the mirror for the first time, the photograph will be taken.” One of the key volunteers involved in this year’s project is Kirstie Oliver, Head of Creative Arts at Penryn College. Kirstie explains why it is so beneficial for the students of the college to be involved in this project. “In order to create the calendar students will need to work in

Getting started: the calendar models gear themselves up for the day ahead

a range of areas which tie in with the curriculum, such as media, design and photography,” explains Kirstie. “However, I also run the school council and am passionate about the social, moral, spiritual and cultural education of the students. These are lessons that are not necessarily learned in the classroom. But here, working side by side with adults and other children who have suffered from cancer, or who are still going through that journey, the students are getting the opportunity to talk about issues which very often in our society, we are afraid to raise.” Both Kirstie and Amanda Barlow, MFL founder, tell me the story of how, in a college assembly, they asked every child who had been affected by someone close to them having cancer, to raise their hand. They were overwhelmed when nearly all the children did so. Still sitting in the circle, Wendy and Kirstie encourage some of the students to share the stories of why they have been inspired to give up their spare time for weeks on end to be involved in this project. Maisy reveals that her godsister, and close friend Chloe died of cancer. Another student secretly found out that her father had cancer two years ago, before her parents had felt ready to tell her the news.


Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

Top: Photographer Mark Parsons, a school governor, and Penryn College students Bottom left: Stylists Jess George (student) and Danny Marie of Gorton Studio Bottom right: Kirstie Oliver is given a signed T shirt as a thank you for all her work and inspiration

Made For Life Foundation // 17


Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

Sally Rickard prepares for her surprise makeover

Others, including Ollie have simply been inspired by that assembly to come along and give their time to a very good cause. What becomes apparent in this very first meeting, is how deeply the students care about the project, and how moved all of the Made For Life models are by the maturity and compassion that they display. Margaret who is recovering from breast cancer explains how Made For Life has become a part of her life which isn’t dominated by cancer, by allowing her to enjoy crafts and fun things. Sarah and Nicola who have both been diagnosed with the condition explain how getting together with each other through Made For Life means they have someone to talk to, and how they laugh a lot together. “I am nervous about it” says Sally. “But it will be fun and sometimes you have to just get on and do it.” On the first morning, students are asking the models a list of specially prepared questions with a view to getting some clues about the kind of character or look that would most suit them for the calendar 18 // Made For Life Foundation

Helping hands: Megan and Ollie

photoshoot. Questions cover everything from their hobbies and work to secret dreams and ambitions. Some of the other students take photographs of the ladies, to give the stylists practical information about skin tone and eye colour when putting the final ‘looks’ together. A few weeks later the day of the photoshoot arrives, and Penryn College is buzzing with activity as the volunteers are carefully escorted around the building to ensure that they do not see any of the props and styling accessories which will give away clues about how they will look for their photograph. Some of the ladies are a little nervous, not least Kate Shaw, who has recently suffered a horrific loss when her daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her quiet bravery and diginity as she waits to be taken into the styling room is incredibly moving and inspiring. One by one each volunteer is taken to a room with no mirrors, and where any reflective screens have been covered, and the stylists set about their work.

The styles and looks which have been designed are both dramatic and relevant in some way to the model it has been created for, and seeing some of the more elaborate accessories it is clear that this is a project the students have really put all their time, energy and creativity into. Each student is assigned a job. Muirne, for example, is a runner, and responsible for making sure that everyone has what they need from teas and coffees to equipment, Erin and her mother Judith have been busy making a fabulous array of 60 cakes which are handed out as the busy morning gets underway. “What is really wonderful is watching the way that the Made For Life models are crying and laughing together today,” says Erin. “It really is so worthwhile just to see that happiness.” Adam, Jess and Maddy are all stylists, many of them have been part of a club run by professional stylist Jo Stambridge. Today Tristan Way, who often works as a living statue, the Green Solider, in Falmouth street theatre, is another stylist working hard despite having just come off


Behind the Scenes at this year's calendar

From left: Amanda Barlow, Kirstie Oliver and Jo Stambridge get emotional as the photoshoot finishes

a night shift at another job. The stylists are also joined by Danny Marie from Gorton Studio in Falmouth, a specialist in make up, FX and prosthetics. As the day progresses emotions begin to run high. There is much laughter and hugging as one by one, the models are taken to the photo studio, and finally, surrounded by lights, the army of volunteers and cameras, they see their final dramatic looks for the first time. Reactions vary from momentary stunned silence to joyful laughter. Then the ladies who have already been photographed appear from behind a curtain where they are hidden from view and there are group hugs and comparing of make-up and hair. The main word to describe it all is sheer fun. One of the last ladies to be photographed is Kate. This has been a difficult day for her, and at times when I pop in to see how she is doing, she tells me her tummy is doing somersaults. But in this place, she is surrounded by all the support that Made For Life has to offer. Amanda sits quietly with her, everyone is

kind and respectful. Finally, this incredibly brave lady walks into the studio to be surrounded by the camera, the lights and an audience of about 50 people, with utter grace and diginity. This of course dissolves, the moment that the mirror is unveiled to reveal her long, flowing locks and dramatic make-up, and many camera flashes spark around the room. For the first time it seems today, Kate’s face is alight with a slow and very beautiful smile, and then she is laughing. And then all her friends appear from behind the curtain and she’s enveloped in lots of hugs. It’s true to say there is barely a dry eye in the room. In months to come, there will be many more moments when those who buy the calendar experience these expressions of shock, surprise and laughter when they see the photographs. And what makes this year’s calendar particularly special is that each moment captured on camera really is the epitome of all the fun, support and love that Made For Life has to offer.

Kate Shaw: Kate finally sees the results of her makeover

“It really is so worthwhile just to see that happiness.”

Made For Life Foundation // 19


Art attack

Above: Made for Life members get creative at one of Mandy’s art workshops

20 // Made For Life Foundation


art attack

art Attack Artist Mandy Farrar has good reason to know how powerful art therapy can be. Here she explains why her Made For Life art workshops are so uplifting for everyone involved

T

he first time I ran an art workshop, twelve people showed up and each and every one was terrified,” laughs Mandy Farrar, as she recounts her early experiences of offering art therapy for Made For Life members. “I think they were all expecting me to make them draw something and hold it up for the class to criticise! I do remember thinking that they had all been very brave to come along.” In fact, a formal art lesson is really the opposite of what Mandy’s workshops are all about. “There’s no judgement of work produced,” she explains. “It’s all about being free to play and create and imagine, just as each of us was when we were children.” That sense of happiness and excitement at being given a box of art materials as a child, is a key inspiration in Mandy’s work. Currently she and her partner Alan Brack run The Undertow Gallery, and earn their livelihood from their vibrant and often simply beautiful paintings. But the way that Mandy came to art, in later life, has also inspired a passionate

desire to encourage others to discover just how life-affirming and healing art can be. “I had a lot of troubles in my earlier life,” explains Mandy. “I struggled with the potential of alcohol addiction myself, when coping with my own daughter’s drug addiction. I’m very proud to say that she has got her life back on track and is now a leading light in helping others battling addiction. But there were very difficult times in my earlier life.” It was in Dublin, in 1999 that Mandy finally discovered that art was a path back to happiness. Having been offered work at a hostel that was struggling to open, Mandy found that for the first time since childhood, she had space, in the empty eight-roomed building, and also time and money for art materials. “Lack of space is so often a barrier to all of us. But at this point in time, everything conspired to give me time to explore my need to paint,” says Mandy. “At night, I would walk along the edge of the River Liffey and all the coloured lights being set up for the Millennium celebrations would dance over the water, and I was

incredibly inspired by the movement and colour, and, for the first time since childhood really, I started to paint again. “My life had been in turmoil, but I found that my art transported me back to that utterly absorbed happy state I’d felt in childhood when I painted. It wasn’t simply an escape, it was a very healing experience.” Having rediscovered her inner artist, Mandy was able to encourage Alan to do the same, and the couple moved down to Cornwall eight years ago. Sadly, two years ago, Mandy’s mother, who lived in Shropshire was diagnosed with cancer and she died in August 2013. “While she was ill, she had been attending art therapy workshops, and she kept telling me how wonderful these were and begging me to start offering them to people,” says Mandy. “I didn’t really know where to begin, I’ve had no formal training after all. But then, by coincidence, Amanda Barlow visited my gallery and liked Alan’s and my work. A short while later I bumped into her and got talking about my mum’s workshops and her wish that I would offer Made For Life Foundation // 21


Art attack

Above: Some of the vibrant work created at the workshops Top left and below: Mandy’ begins the workshops by demonstrating her painting style Bottom left: The Kingfisher and the Feather, painted by Mandy for the Someone to Know CD cover

Opposite page: Colour and fun at Mandy’s art workshops 22 // Made For Life Foundation


art attack

“The first time I ran an art workshop, twelve people showed up and each and every one was terrified,” laughs Mandy Farrar, as she recounts her early experiences of offering art therapy for Made For Life members. “I think they were all expecting me to make them draw something and hold it up for the class to criticise! I do remember thinking that they had all been very brave to come along.”

child, is a key inspiration in Mandy’s work. Currently she and her partner Alan Brack run The Undertow Gallery, and earn their livelihood from their vibrant and often simply beautiful paintings.

The bird and the Feather has got her life back on track and is now a leading light in helping others battling addiction. But there were very difficult times in my earlier life.”

But the way that Mandy came to art, in later life, has also inspired a passionate desire to It was in Dublin, in 1999 that Mandy finally encourage others to discover just how life- discovered that art was a path back to happiness. Having been offered work at a affirming and healing art can be. hostel that was struggling to open, Mandy found that for the first time since childhood, “I had a lot of troubles in my earlier life,” In fact, a formal art lesson is really the she had space, in the empty eight-roomed explains Mandy. “I struggled with the opposite of what Mandy’s workshops are potential of alcohol addiction myself, when building, time, and money for art materials. all about. “There’s no judgement of work “Lack of space is so often a barrier to all produced,” she explains. “It’s all about being coping with my own daughter’s drug of us. But at this point in time, everything free to play, and create and imagine, just as addiction. I’m very proud to say that she conspired to give me time to explore my each of us was when we were children.” To find out more about Mandy and the need to paint,” says Mandy. “AT night, I Undertow Gallery visit would walk along the edge of the River That sense of happiness and excitement www.facebook.com/mandyandallan or Liffey and all the coloured lights being set at being given a box of art materials as a call 01326 316245 up for the Millennium celebrations would Made For Life Foundation // 23


how to tell the children

telling the children There’s never an easy way to break the news of a cancer diagnosis to your loved ones, but letting your children know can be the most difficult conversation of all.

I

Words by Victoria Carpenter

discovered that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer in the school playground when I was eight-yearsold. My friend Tracey came up to me and nervously asked me if it was true. I can still remember staring at the dusty flowerbeds at the edge of the schoolyard trying to blink back the tears as I nodded. Suddenly all the strange things that had been happening at home made sense. My mum sobbing her heart out that day a few months earlier and my two sisters and I being sent unceremoniously to our rooms; the tense visits to the hospital; the overwhelming sense of bleakness that had settled on our normally happy home. I’d known my dad was poorly, my parents had told me that. But until that point, neither of them - nor any other family member - had actually said the word ‘cancer’. Over thirty years have passed since that day, but I still remember the feeling of dread the word instilled in me and more than anything, I needed my mum and dad to be with me to answer the millions of questions that flooded into my mind and to

24 // Made For Life Foundation

simply give me a cuddle. Instead I endured an afternoon of staring distantly at my Maths Adventure book before I was able to run home and ask my very shocked mum if the playground gossip was true. It would be easy to imagine that my parents were quite cold and distant, or perhaps that they weren’t very articulate or communicative. But the truth is that they were both very loving, kind and affectionate parents who were often very honest with us, and they always took the time to explain things to us when we asked. What had happened, I now understand, is that like many other parents who face this dreadful conversation, they had simply not known how to tell us. “There are some conversations no one can prepare you for,” says Sloan SheridanWilliams, a Life Coach and Wellness Consultant (www.sloansw.com) who recently lost her own mother to cancer. But, she adds, it does help to break the news as soon as you feel able, in simple but honest language. “The information you have to impart is

never going to be easy. Some believe it is best to say the dreaded word as quickly as possible in the same way you would rip off the plaster while others suggest it is best to ease into a conversation. From speaking to many clients about this, the consensus has been that it is good to get the negative stuff out the way first and quickly, with the majority of time left focusing on the options, leaving time for questions.” Of course, each case is unique and noone knows your children better than you do. But do bear in mind that people will talk about your news, and if you can be the one to tell your child, you will have the opportunity to be there for them, as well as opening the door for them to keep talking to you throughout your treatment. “Breaking the news to children can be especially difficult so it’s helpful to remember that if you have young children it is important to focus on the present and talk to them in shorter conversations stating simple and clear facts.” says Sloan. “Older children will generally ask for specific information and may want to talk about


how to tell the children

the present and the future. Each child is different and one must take into account their personality as well as their age. “All children will need time to deal with their feelings and it will help them to know that they can talk to you openly and ask questions no matter how direct.” Also worth remembering is that you are only human and you should forgive yourself if things don’t work out as you’d hoped. The way you break the news is, after all, just one step on a difficult journey. My dad had two years of treatment

before he passed away when I was 10-years-old. It was a horrendous time, but what he and my mum did for me and my sisters that has been incredibly healing in the years that have passed since, was to make lots of special time to spend with us. My mum had a policy that there was always time for a hug, and my dad was often very funny and honest when I asked him about his treatment and the funny bag he had clipped to his tummy. When I think back now to those times, I

don’t think of the shock of the way I found out about the cancer. What has stayed with me all these years is the laughter, the love and the enormous courage my parents displayed in the darkest of times.

Top: Victoria’s dad John during his treatment. Bottom left: John spent lots of time playing with his three daughters. Bottom right: From left, Victoria’s mum, Anne, Victoria, dad John and little sister Emma Made For Life Foundation // 25


the call of the wild

The Call of the Wild It is a harrowing experience but cancer helped Thom Hunt answer the two most important questions in life

I

n August 2013, TV star and entrepreneur Thom Hunt gave an interview to a local newspaper and said that having a lifethreatening cancer was ‘the best thing that had ever happened’ to him. Surely this was a mistake, a typical misquote maybe? After all, here was a man who had been chosen by celebrity chef Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall to appear in a hit Channel Four show. He’d since started a successful business offering fishing, foraging and hunting in one of the most beautiful spots in the county. He’d even dabbled in modelling for a time. How could he possibly say that having cancer was better than all that? Especially when the diagnosis came at a relatively young age. ‘Pre-diagnosis, life was very much about Thom,’ he explains. ‘How much money

26 // Made For Life Foundation

can Thom earn, how much good times and great holidays can Thom have. I was just trying to have a nice time as often as I could. That was alright but it’s a cup that has a big hole in the bottom - it’s very difficult to fill yourself up and satisfy yourself ‘Whereas, through my experience I found the purpose. I searched my thoughts, mind and personality and thought about the legacy I wanted to leave. If I died next week, what makes the difference is not just the number of days you were here but the things you did, the ways you contributed and legacy you left. Having a nice time for the next 50 years is a bit like “so what - good for you - is there nothing more important.” And that was the question I was really trying to answer.’ Thom was 27 when he was diagnosed

with colon cancer. For a year he had been suffering symptoms such as stomach cramp, loss of appetite and passing of blood. ‘I knew things weren’t quite right,’ he says, ‘but at 27 you’re not thinking about whether it’s cancer or not - your mind is a million miles away on life.’ Indeed at that stage Thom was about to become a household name, having filmed the first series of Three Hungry Boys in which he and two marine biologist friends travelled around the Hebrides in an old VW camper van with the challenge to use their foraging skills and love of the wild to survive a whole month with no money. But nor had the doctors been quick to spot a problem. ‘I’d been to three different GPs before I even got sent for tests to see what it was. I didn’t get palmed off but it certainly wasn’t picked up as quickly as it


the call of the wild

could have been. For some time I had been exhibiting something that the NHS red flags which is a combination of symptoms regardless of age, predisposition, family history or anything like that - if you present any of these red flag symptoms, you really should be checked straightaway and I wasn’t. By the time I was diagnosed, my tumour had actually perforated through my colon and split so I needed emergency surgery which means I am now the proud owner of a 12 inch scar.’ The slow diagnosis is a point Thom stresses in the hope that it might stop the same happening to someone else, but he is equally keen to emphasise that he doesn’t hold any resentment or blame. He is more interested in focusing on how the ensuing six months of chemotherapy led to a change in his sense of priorities. ‘There was a massive shift in me to change my life,’ he says. ‘Not that it was bad before but just change it for the better because I knew I didn’t have the luxury of hanging around time wise any more. I became I guess more of a risk taker and I wanted to challenge life head on. ‘The chemo was a very intrusive type of treatment in physical and mental terms. When you are diagnosed, you are suddenly put into a box that says “I have cancer.” I’ve discussed it with people who I used to sit next to in chemo every other week and there is a certain understanding with

people that have been there that is very difficult to understand if you haven’t. You spend a year of your life thinking is this going to be my last year - you don’t get to choose what the outcome is going to be, it is in wind as such. It comes down to a bit of faith, is luck going to be on my side or not? ‘You don’t get the luxury to think “what am I going to do for the next ten years” but you do start thinking “if I get ten years what am I going to do with them.” This is a very different philosophy. Most people don’t think like that - they bumble along, doing their own thing. It is very strange to watch normal people spend more time planning their holiday than they would planning their life. I know so many people that just don’t have any focus or direction - maybe for some of them that is ok but most people I meet seem to be wondering: “is all there is to life? Maybe I like my job some days but other days I don’t…’ and that sort of thing. ‘I think the ability to sit down sometimes and ask yourself “who am I?” and “what do I want from life and how do I want to contribute to society?” is the fundamental reason why I feel so lucky to have been through that experience. You wake up to what life is, what is important to you, your dreams and aspirations and you start going to get them, working towards the goals to set those things in place. It is a very magical situation

to be in, regardless of time you’ve got left. Of course, I was more cognitively aware that I was in much riskier situation but make no bones about it, we are all living on knife edge of life - no-one can guarantee their own existence. Some of us realise it, some of us don’t.’ With his treatment over and a successful first series of Three Hungry Boys under his belt, Thom signed up for a second series where this time Hugh challenged the threesome to travel on a milk float from Axminster in Devon to Land’s End, again with no money. He was also involved with a spin-off book from the show. But away from the starry lights of the small screen, what Thom really wanted to do was create a place where people could come and experience the wild for themselves in a way that they couldn’t do elsewhere. ‘I wanted to create a physical space in very best medium I know that presses reset button for people,’ Thom explains. ‘Certain emotions stir in us when we go back to the wild, whether it is a walk in the woods or watching waves from a beach. It is a very calming experience and we get clarity in our minds.’ And so 7th Rise was born. Thom set up business in his riverside home near Falmouth, Cornwall, offering weekend residential courses encompassing hunting, foraging, fishing and wild food cookery. Made For Life Foundation // 27


the call of the wild

From the humble beginnings he has since teamed up with a number of leading specialists from across the country to offer lessons in shooting, bushcraft and even Canadian canoeing. No surprise then that the unique nature of the enterprise has attracted national attention from national media and the company continues to grow. Yet emphasis remains on the experience of each individual. ‘It’s not always a life changing experience,’ Tom stresses. ‘Sometimes it’s just people having a nice time and maybe learning a few new skills such as learning which plants you can eat and which ones you can’t or how to cook a crab. Sometimes it’s people completely changing their life and realising they want something different from what they have now. It’s not really for me to choose. We offer a good community experience with a simple philosophy and people can choose their own level of consumption as to what they get from it. ‘It’s a good way to recalibrate. We want to be successful, create stuff, have an impact - and stress is part of that. I’m not saying don’t ever be in a situation like that - after all, it is how you can come up with ideas, create behaviour you’ve never exhibited before. But people who are city-based and lead this fast-paced lifestyle generally lack these outdoor natural spaces - and you need a balance.’ In between the courses and ongoing TV projects, Thom also finds time to volunteer for a variety of organisations, mentoring kids, fundraising for Macmillan and, of course, raising awareness of the work of Made For Life. He is also currently working with another charity on a plan for 7th Rise to help give over 22,000 inner city kids a wild experience. ‘I spend a lot of time putting back what I feel I have got out of life, trying to create progress and breakthroughs in other people,’ Thom explains. ‘So life is good, life is exceptional and extraordinary. I’d have never said that before my experience with cancer.’ It is a buzz that is clearly visible to many people who meet Thom. Last year a complete stranger came up at an event and said that he bet that Thom had more energy, more love, more good ideas, more creativity, more friends, more money, in fact more of everything than before he was 28 // Made For Life Foundation

diagnosed. Thom was rather taken aback, but nevertheless found himself agreeing. And then the man explained why he had said this, and why he believed this was true. ‘He said there’s only ever two questions that people need to answer in life and people have been trying to do it since birth of time,’ says Thom. ‘Those two questions are: “who am I?” and “what do I think I was sent here to do?” The guy said if you can start finding genuine answers to those questions, there’s untold energy in abundance that will flow through you. And that’s why he could see I’d answered those questions for myself. ‘The odd thing is that many people don’t even ask themselves those questions, let alone find an answer. ‘I started with the idea for 7th Rise two years ago and basically now we are working in collaboration with big organisations such as a wet suit company and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants, to name a few. What we have managed to achieve in that time is way beyond what I considered it would be and now we are working out how to get even bigger -- how do we help even more people. I don’t know whether if I’d have been doing these things or not if the cancer hadn’t happened, I just know it doesn’t really matter that much, as this feels so right. I am so happy, so fulfilled, creating so much and enjoying so much emotional, financial and community success. I certainly wouldn’t be this far ahead with this project if i hadn’t been through that experience.’ Hence the quote in the local paper about cancer being the best thing to happen to him, a sentiment he stands by to this day. Thom’s whole outlook on life is certainly an infectious way of thinking, one which will no doubt inspire anyone, whether their lives have been affected by cancer or not. ‘I love the word adventure,’ he concludes. ‘We all get to individually define what adventure is. Some people want an emotional adventure - they want to go places that they’ve haven’t been before emotionally. For others it’s spacial - they want to climb a mountain, walk a particular trail or row across a river. The word adventure places us outside your comfort zone. Try something you’ve never tried before or ever experienced before - that’s a great place to start.’

Thom has two main pieces of advice for friends and family supporting their loved ones through cancer offer unconditional love

Thom says: ‘When someone goes through a very traumatic experience and you have never been through it so you are struggling to relate to how they are feeling, all you have to give them is unconditional love. Their mind, their thought processes, outlook and philosophy may result in a bunch of bizarre behaviours at times - sometimes they’ll be angry or upset, sometimes positive - but I can’t stress enough if you have not gone through the experience, you can’t ever imagine how much it rocks your world. It’s not easy - if they say something upsetting, you may feel like taking it personally but you mustn’t. You have to give them unconditional love.’ Keep active communication open

Thom says: ‘Don’t avoid the subject speak with the person who has been diagnosed and ask questions. They don’t have to be probing questions but know that as the person going through it, you might have a number of things you want to discuss. We all know a problem shared is a problem halved but there is a weird nervousness surrounding cancer sufferers. Do I bring it up? Do I say something? Do we ignore it? I would say just make yourself verbally available - ask whether they want to discuss how they are feeling - it is a massive level of release and love that you can share through that communication. Again it’s not easy but it is always worth it. Look someone in the eye with a genuine sense of asking - no seriously, how are you? Be honest with me.’


forget about the money

Forget about the When you are diagnosed with cancer, worries about money and work can make life even more stressful. Here is a guide to your basic rights, and where you can find help and support so finances don’t make matters worse.

money

your rights at work

A survey for Macmillan reveals one in four people experience discrimination at work after their diagnosis, but you are well protected under the law. Under the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), it’s unlawful for an employer to treat you less favourably (discriminate against you) because of your disability. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are legally classed as disabled. Even if you’ve had cancer in the past and it has been successfully treated and you are now in remission, your employer must not treat you less favourably for any reason related to your time off or treatment for cancer in the past. Examples of unlawful treatment at work include: Being disciplined for taking too much time off sick, with your employer taking no account of your diagnosis A demotion to a job with less pay or responsibility Being passed over for a promotion in favour of someone with less experience or fewer skills. Your employer suggesting you stop working or retire due to your illness Not being allowed to take time off for treatment. Your employer refusing to make reasonable changes to allow you to cope with your workload and responsibilities, for example, giving you extra breaks or allowing you to work from home. If you experience this kind of discrimination, your first step should be to talk to your manager, and request a copy of your employers policies relating to working with disabled employees. If the problem remains unresolved, you can get free help from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, ACAS. Call their helpline on 0300 123 1100 or visit www.acas.org.uk

Money, money, money

Places to get financial support.

You may be eligible for a grant under the Access to Work scheme to help you gain or remain in employment or to start up a new business. Visit www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview Macmillan offer free financial advice and have a video about which benefits you might be entitled to. Visit www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Livingwithandaftercancer/ Financialissues/Benefitsandfinancialhelp/Gettingfinancialhelp.aspx or call their support line on 0808 808 0000 CLIC Sargent may be able to help with immediate financial needs. Any family with a child or young person aged 24 or under who is receiving treatment for cancer or palliative care can apply. Applications need to be made through a CLIC Sargent social worker or healthcare professional. For more information, call 0300 330 0803 or visit www.clicsargent.org.uk Turn2us helps people find specific charities that may be able to offer financial assistance. You can apply through their website or call 0808 802 2000 or visit www.turn2us.org.uk

Made For Life Foundation // 29


Who else could help?

Who else could help? In Cornwall‌ Cancer Services Management Team

(the Sunrise Centre, Royal Cornwall Hospital) Tel: 01872 258300, e-mail cancer.services@rcht.cornwall.nhs.uk

Macmillan Cornwall

Macmillan provides practical, medical, emotional and financial support and pushes for better cancer care. www.macmillan.org.uk/Fundraising/Inyourarea/England/ Cornwall/Cornwall.aspx

Breast cancer support groups in Cornwall

Cornwall Cancer Care

A website by Dr Alastair Thomson, providing general information on cancer and cancer treatment, with particular reference to the patients in Cornwall. http://www.cornwallcancercare.co.uk

LARF Cornwall

Assists in the treatment and care of teenagers and young people under the age of 24 within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Primarily for those undergoing and having cancer and leukemia treatment. www.larfcornwall.co.uk

You can find a list of local support groups at www.cornwallbreastsurgeon.com/Patient_support/patient_ support.html

Around the uK‌ Cancer Research UK

Gives information on different cancers and their treatments, as well as statistics on different cancers, including how common they are, regional variations etc. www.cancerresearchuk.org

Cancer Back Up

Provides information on cancer and its treatments, with advice and support for patients, families and carers. www.cancerbackup.org.uk

Beating Bowel Cancer

A team of nurses support bowel cancer patients and their families by phone, by email, on our forum and through Facebook and Twitter, whether you are worried about symptoms, recently diagnosed or living with bowel cancer. www.beatingbowelcancer.org

30 // Made For Life Foundation

Look Good Feel Better

A national charity which does offer workshops in Cornwall to improve the self-image and appearance of those undergoing treatment for cancer, and related side effects, through free group and self-help skincare and make-up workshops that create a sense of support, confidence, and wellbeing. www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk

Dr Foster guide

A website with details of hospital specialists. www.drfoster.co.uk/guides

Breast Cancer Care

Brings people together, provides information and support, and campaigns for improved standards of care. www.breastcancercare.org.uk


How can you help?

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get involved

Meet some of the people who have helped Made For Life this year to get some inspiration

Help to organise an event…

Andi Gay, who has been in remission from breast cancer for five years now, helped to organise this year’s Made For Life ball, held on September 26 at The Falmouth Hotel. “I spent the summer looking for prizes for our auction, to match those such as the luxury hotel break we had last year,” says Andi. Offering prizes is another way to help, and of course we thank everyone who has donated prizes for this year’s ball.

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Offer a professional skill…

Meet Ian Walden and Tracey Bishop, the talented duo at design agency Hush Creative, pictured above with their son Freddie. Ian and Tracey are designing this year’s Made For Life calendar. There are many other professionals who contribute to all the pamper days, events and day to day support that Made For Life offers, from Margaret, a health worker who is a wonderful support to many who come here, to Hilary, who is a professional counsellor who recently got in touch to offer her help. If you would like to get involved too, then please get in touch. (See details overleaf).

Help with our calendar

This year Kirstie Oliver and the fabulous students from Penryn College have been fantastic help in working with us to put together the 2015 Made For Life calendar.

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Book a massage

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Host a workshop

Enjoy a blissful Spiezia spa treatment, happy in the knowledge 10 per cent of proceeds are going to the Made For Life Foundation. Or, of course, if you are a therapist and would like to volunteer some time in our salon, or at our pamper days, please get in touch. Artist Mandy Farrar currently hosts art workshops, but perhaps you have another talent or idea for workshops which would be inspiring for those who need a day off from cancer.

Open a group near you

Made For Life groups are opening up all around the UK. If your local area would benefit from Made For life events and you’d be interested in organising them, please call or email us.

Fundraise or donate

In April 2015, Wendy Everhard and Liz Betts from the Sunrise Centre are setting off on the Great Wall Trek in China with Global Adventure Challenges. Sponsor them at mydonate.bt.com or go on an adventure yourself to raise money. Or, you could run a marathon. Juliette Hathaway from Perranporth will running the London Marathon on April 26. Sponsor Juliette at uk.virginmoneygiving.com. To donate to MFL visit www.justgiving.com/madeforlife

Made For Life Foundation // 31


INNOVATION CENTRE

Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre Park & Ride

RCH Treliske

Truro Golf Club To Truro City Centre

Truro College

To Redruth and A30

Train Station

A390

Get in touch

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ins

Co un Ha ty ll

bu

ry’ s

Truro A3

90

To St Austell

A39

• Call us: 01326 221777 A39 • e-mail us: madeforlifefoundation@gmail.com • Visit us: Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre, Treliske, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3FF To Falmouth

We are located close to RCH Treliske. Duchy Hospital HEALTH & WELLBEING INNOVATION CENTRE

Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre

Car Park

RCH Treliske

Treliske Industrial Estate

PC World

Argos

Bus Stop

Homebase Knowledge Spa

To Redruth and A30

To Truro St Austell Falmouth

Produced by GLOSS magazines, www.glossmagazines.co.uk

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This magazine is printed on FSC certified paper @ 2014 Gloss Magazines Ltd. All rights reserved, reproduction of any part of this magazine is not allowed without the written permission of the publishers and the charity

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Made For Life magazine  

The magazine for the charity Made For Life supporting people through the cancer journey. Articles on complementary therapies and financial a...

Made For Life magazine  

The magazine for the charity Made For Life supporting people through the cancer journey. Articles on complementary therapies and financial a...