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Awardee Story

Adele’s Story

By Awardee Story, News

Adele from Poole is currently undergoing cancer treatment. DCCF recently paid for her to take her three children away for a much-needed weekend break.

She said: “My children are 13, 12 and 10 and this whole year has been a real challenge for them.

“Because I had to isolate during chemotherapy, our lives changed overnight. Cancer really does impact on the whole family.

“To see me unwell is very frightening. But they have been so brave. I’m very proud of them. They haven’t complained once about missing out on beach days and play dates.

She continued: “Our weekend away was very much needed.

“I’m currently having radiotherapy, so fatigue is a real issue. The break was a chance to relax and be a family without worrying about treatment and hospital appointments.

“I want to thank DCCF for giving us this precious time together.

“The charity does such amazing work and we are all so grateful.”

Support for Tony Menary

By Awardee Story, News

Tony Menary from Dorchester is fighting inoperable lung cancer – the former scaffolder’s second battle with cancer.

The father-of-three told how this time, knowing DCCF is here to help, has made a real difference to his family’s quality of life.

Tony, 55, said: “Prior to Covid I had been diagnosed with the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). But in 2020 my breathing was getting worse.

“The pandemic meant it was difficult to get a hospital appointment.

“When I was able to have scans, they revealed I was suffering from inoperable Stage 4 lung cancer. And I was given just six months to live.”

He continued: “It was a terrible shock. All I could think of was that I wouldn’t see my daughter Isla’s 16th birthday. I was determined to survive until then.

“I asked the doctors what they could do and concentrated firmly on the treatment, with twice daily rounds of radiotherapy at Poole Hospital for three weeks, followed by chemo and more preventative brain radiotherapy in Dorchester.”

Covid meant Tony had to travel alone back and forth from Poole.

He said: “I just did it and hoped the doctors could get me out the other side.”

Tony, who is originally from Glasgow, had fought and beat testicular cancer at the age of 35.

He said: “Back then there was no financial help and we struggled terribly. We lost our house and had to go and live in a caravan for a while. Some days I had to borrow the money to afford the petrol to Southampton for cancer treatment.

“I recovered though and a silver lining appeared soon after with the birth of a our ‘miracle baby’ Isla.”

Tony’s wife of 27 years Joanne works part time in care. The couple also have two other adult children.

Tony said: “We heard about DCCF through the CAB but for a while I didn’t seek any help. I just wanted to put everything into trying to survive this.

“However, our cooker was old and most of its parts weren’t working. Our bed was also ancient and trying to eat well and sleep well has become even more important, but we just couldn’t afford to replace them, so we decided to apply to DCCF for a grant.

“We were thrilled when we were told we had been successful and received the money to buy another cooker and a new bed. It’s made such a difference to us.

“Right now, I am taking each day as it comes. I am grateful to have been here to see Isla’s 16th birthday and to have outlived the original prognosis.

“The NHS have been and continue to be wonderful and I am having three-monthly checks and hoping for the best.

“We are very grateful to DCCF and its fundraisers for helping make our life a little less of a struggle and encourage other people to seek DCCF’s help. It really is a fantastic charity.”

Support for Sam Kirkby

By Awardee Story, News

Sam, 39, learned she had stage three breast cancer in October 2021, when her baby son was just six months old.

She said: “I thought I had lumps and bumps because I was breastfeeding, but the doctor sent me for a scan.

When I went in for the results two weeks later the specialist said: “I expect you know what I am going to tell you?”

I thought she was going to say I was fine. But then she said: “I’m afraid you have cancer.”

“I didn’t know what to say – I was absolutely stunned. I had told my husband to wait in the car with the baby because I thought I would be literally in and out.

“I left the hospital and just went to work – and kept going to work for the next three days until my husband said: “You know you’ve got to stop. You have to start shielding before your treatment.

“And then it really hit me and all I could think about was – I can’t leave my children.”

A year on from her diagnosis, mum-of-three Sam, has undergone five rounds of gruelling chemotherapy, a partial mastectomy and radiotherapy.

The chemo was particularly hard as Sam has Crohns disease, which was exacerbated by the strong chemo drugs.

She said: “One of the worst parts, was having to stop breastfeeding my baby to start chemo. He cried and cried and I felt hopeless and that I was letting him down.

“I was working four part time jobs as a retail merchandiser to support my family before my diagnosis. My husband is a stay at home Dad to our children.

“But eventually the strain was too much and the doctor signed me off sick from my main job.

“We had taken out a mortgage on our first proper home just before my diagnosis.

“I was terrified about how we would cope with me unable to do all my jobs.

“Luckily, Paula, one of the nurses at the Ladybird Unit in Poole told me about the help given by DCCF and helped me to apply.

“When I found out DCCF was going to help us pay our mortgage for a while, the relief was huge and I am so grateful.”

She continued: “I don’t know what would have happened without DCCF’s help. This, together with the amazing treatment and support I have had from the NHS, makes me feel lucky to be here, despite all the terrible things that have happened to us in the course of just one year.”

Sam has learned she has the hereditary BRCA2 gene and must now wait for a full mastectomy and for her ovaries to be removed, before reconstructive surgery, all of which will mean many trips to hospital in Portsmouth.

She said: “I have no choice but to follow the long path ahead of me – with more treatment and surgery.

“But I am determined to survive cancer for my family.”