In September 2003, doctors found a fibroid and Jane underwent a total hysterectomy. But as Jane recovered from surgery, she was told that this wasn’t a fibroid. It was a mass. The following month she was given the dreaded diagnosis – stage 3 ovarian cancer. Widespread. The prognosis at this point was that without intervention, she would have only 6 months to live.
After several rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, Jane had no visible signs of cancer. But in 2006, the cancer returned. This meant more chemo and surgery to remove 3 pieces of her bowel. This was very traumatic and very painful.
The following year Jane was referred to Freshwinds for complementary therapy and was introduced to hypnotherapy, aromatherapy and massage to relieve pain and help her relax.
“The benefit is tremendous – I get 4 days benefit in the feeling from one therapy session and 2 good night’s sleep which is worth a lot when you don’t sleep”
“It’s incredible that the therapists come and give up their time”
“I can’t wait, I look forward to coming each month. The atmosphere’s so nice and relaxing and I really value the fact that people here care about me.”
With Freshwinds’ support, Jane and clients like her are still going strong and enjoying life.
“Without the help I’ve had from Freshwinds I don’t know how I would have gone on – it has really made a big difference to me…it really helped me live”
Jane’s story is what Freshwinds is all about and we are honoured to be part of that journey. Everyday we’re humbled by the valiant efforts of Jane, and thousands of others like her, who meet the challenge of life-threatening illness.
Sheila first became involved with Freshwinds as a client when she was referred from the Breast Cancer team at QE hospital in 2003. She received a number of complementary therapies from our Integrated Medicine team, including accupuncture, massage, reflexology, Indian head massage and reiki. They have also supported her through bereavement following the death of her husband and offered care when she suffered other illnesses and had major back surgery.
Wishing to give something back to the charity, Sheila started volunteering for Freshwinds on reception. This is a role she hugely enjoyed as it gave her the chance to get out of the house and meet people. In 2006, Freshwinds were pleased to welcome her as a paid member of staff and Sheila now provides administrative support to the medical team who helped her.
Complementary therapy has made a significant difference to my life. I have been able to reduce medications and cope better with everyday life. I am now reaping the benefits and I feel so much better than I have done for a long time. I feel it’s a fantastic service that Freshwinds offfers, especially the fact that therapists are willing to give up their time for free. I really appreciate the work that has been done here and I promote Freshwinds wherever I go. The whole ethos is fantastic and I hope that many others continue to benefit like I have.
Gabby Palmieri was a patient at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who sadly passed away in October 2012. Gabby’s mum, Lyndsay, is a friend of Freshwinds. She very kindly agreed to share her story and explain how Freshwinds’ new Children’s project will help make a positive impact on the lives of children and families. This is truly Gabby’s Gift:
The children’s project needs donations so please do your bit for Gabby’s Gift here.
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
In 2012, three clients of the Supporting People Refugee service kindly agreed to be interviewed for a series called ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’. These are their stories: