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Palmers Green resident Adele Barr is just one of many people who have benefited from the services provided by the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.  As well as continuing to use its services in Edmonton, she raises money for the charity through a craft stall in the entrance to the North Middlesex Hospital. This is her story.

adele barr at north mid hospitalAdele Barr (centre) with her craft stall at the North Middlesex Hospital

Early December 2014 was a time I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my world changed forever.

My surgeon wanted to operate as soon as possible so I was booked into the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton for my mastectomy on 23rd December 2014. Christmas would have to wait.

After surgery, my husband Leslie collected me from the hospital at 6pm and I was in a lot of pain, but relieved to be going home. I have three sons who all live in America and sadly they were not able to come and see me. Poor Leslie wasn’t in the best of health, and the following day was taken into hospital for a life threatening operation. I relied on our kind neighbours a lot during my recovery. I had also caught an infection in my wound which required a double strength of antibiotics to clear and about 10 weeks of attending hospital for dressings etc.

Whilst I was having my dressings seen to and at the same time visiting my husband each day, the MacMillan Breast Clinic Nurse suggested I really needed some help and recommended I went to the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity for support. I was nervous but decided it could be a good idea and agreed to attend a meeting.

"This lovely lady would help me more than I could possibly imagine"

I attended the first group session shortly after; there was a dozen or so of us in the group and we went round the circle explaining our own cancer journeys and I found it quite nerve wracking, but very interesting. I will always remember a lady sitting next to me who introduced herself as Zohreh Moftizadeh. What I didn’t realise was this lovely lady would help me more than I could possibly imagine.

Zohreh was just deciding to begin a weekly art therapy group at Helen Rollason Cancer Charity support centre at North Middlesex Hospital. She invited me along and I went not really knowing what to expect, but trying to keep an open mind. I was warmly welcomed into the group and instantly felt more calm and relaxed than I had been for months.

I enjoy painting, making crafts and knitting; the support centre has been proudly filled with all of our creations and it’s so wonderful to see them decorating the walls. I’ve made so many new and wonderful friends too that I know will always support me; we also chat daily on our WhatsApp group so I never feel lonely!

"I've learnt new skills and gained a huge amount of confidence"

The art therapy group hasn’t just been beneficial for my mental health; I’ve also learnt new skills and gained a huge amount of confidence. Furthermore I have also used the reflexology service and the 1-2-1 counselling sessions.

To give something back to the charity, I regularly hold a craft stall with my art group friends in the entrance to North Middlesex Hospital to raise money for them.

I still attend yearly check-ups to ensure my cancer hasn’t returned, but for now the future is looking bright and I will be able to see my three beautiful grandchildren grow up. I can’t thank Helen Rollason Cancer Charity enough; they really have helped me so much I am eternally grateful.

helen rollason cancer charity logo

helen rollasonThe charity was founded by TV sports presenter Helen Rollason in 1997, two years before she died aged 43.  Its six centres, in Essex, Hertfordshire and at the North Middlesex Hospital, provide free support through the use of complementary therapies, counselling and the provision of information, and also support families and carers.

Our aim is to provide a safe space where you can be yourself and don’t have to put on a brave face. A place where you can have enjoyable, relaxing and calming treatments in the knowledge that you are not alone – that everyone who comes through our door is experiencing the same feelings as you and facing the same difficulties.

The charity also supports research and drugs trials by making annual grants to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and to the North Mid.

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