Penny Brohn Cancer Care - a Personal Account
By Dieneke Ferguson, 12 January 2015
Hidden Art is very pleased to support Penny Brohn Cancer Care Charity with the donation of 5% of its sales between 12 November 2014 and 19 January 2015. And it was great to see that in addition some of the designers that have worked on the Hidden Art E-Shop also donated 5% of its sales. And it was great to see some of the designers on the Hidden Art E-shop donating 5% of their sales to Penny Brohn Cancer Care. For further information see here
There were two reasons that made us choose to support Penny Brohn Cancer Care. The first one came about when Laura Elliott, one of the designers on our e-shop, made a Guardian Angel pendant with healing qualities for a friend who has breast cancer. We asked Laura whether she could make us a special Guardian Angel to be used as a focus for our Christmas campaign titled ‘This Christmas become a Guardian Angel’. Laura also produced a Guardian Angel tree topper as well as Window Guardian Angel decorations.
The other reason behind our decision is my personal experience with cancer. Having been diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, I too benefited from the services of Penny Brohn Cancer Care.
I heard about Penny Brohn Cancer Care through someone who had attended one of their Residential Courses and who recommended it fully. The Residential Courses are held in their National Centre just outside Bristol. There are several courses and I attended their 2-day introductory course Living Well with the Impact of Cancer.
The course explores how lifestyle changes can boost and improve well-being. Participants learn how to identify simple things that will help them manage the impact of cancer and its treatment on everyday life within a supportive environment of people with similar experiences. Adopting healthy eating habits, preparing easy, nutritional recipes and de-stressing with relaxation and mindfulness techniques or simple breathing exercises are among the course’s benefits. A strong focus on dealing with emotions and coming to terms with cancer is also part of the 2-day routine.
The Centre is in beautiful surroundings that provide the perfect scenery for long, relaxing walks. The residential facilities include comfortable bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and delicious meals.
The evening I arrived we settled in our rooms and were then treated to a lovely supper. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and had the chance to meet lovely people, including some Hackney residents. I had never heard of mindfulness prior to attending the course, nor was I familiar with meditation. Overall, it was an eye opener and the skills I learned, like mindfulness, I am still using today.
There were about 12 people in my group, including carers. Participants were all at different stages. My cancer, multiple myeloma, was diagnosed in 2008 and after several chemo treatments and unsuccessful stem cell harvests I resorted to curcumin which I’ve been using since May 2011 to keep the cancer in control.
Discussions were skilfully led and enabled us to share our experiences if we wished to, and learn from the experiences of others. Their approach, known as the Bristol Approach, is based on the premise that cancer affects much more than the body. Therefore, in Penny Brohn courses, participants are treated as a whole with a broad focus that covers Mind, Body, Emotions and Spirit.
The course was developed after the NHS Cancer Reform strategy of 2007 determined that a ‘national cancer survivorship initiative be established to improve the post treatment care and support for people living with or after cancer’. Penny Brohn Cancer Care was chosen as one of the organisations to work in a Pilot and their Living Well courses stemmed from this.
Further information on what Penny Brohn Cancer Care offers