Natalie Walks All Over Cancer

Walk All Over Cancer
March 2018

Natalie Walks All Over Cancer

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Natalie Bromfield

Total raised


+ £56.25 Gift Aid


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I’m walking 10,000 steps this March for Cancer Research UK, please support me

Hi everyone. I’m not normally one to pour my heart out online, but I wanted to raise awareness and ask you kind people to help me raise money for Cancer Research UK.
This is a subject close to my heart, as it is for many of you. As occupational therapists, my colleagues and I visit many patients in Torbay who are fighting (some winning, some losing) the battle with the big C. A lady I saw recently was receiving treatment funded by Cancer Research UK, helping her to manage her symptoms and prolong her life.
My lovely mum Liz was experiencing pain in her ear, which she went to her GP about. The GP felt it was to do with pressure in her ear and recommended she chews (gum) to relieve that pressure (no blame implied). Mum wasn’t one to make a fuss and was more concerned about her family and pregnant daughter (me!) than prioritising herself! It persisted, the discomfort increased, making it harder to swallow food and talking uncomfortable. For those who knew mum, two things she loved to do! Some six months later, she had a dental appointment and the dentist sent her back to the GP, who identified a tumour.
The treatment she received at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital was excellent and she had surgery for a biopsy very quickly. This identified that the tumour was on her tonsils, tongue and throat by this stage. Mum had a PEG fitted (a means of feeding straight into her stomach), some teeth removed (as radiotherapy can affect weak teeth) and a mask made for radiotherapy (that secures to the table to prevent movement) within two or so weeks. The prognosis was good and we were all positive (doctors, family and friends) that mum could beat this. Treatment began, which was described by one specialist nurse as ’brutal and aggressive’. There were unpleasant side effects (inability to talk or eat, burnt skin on her neck from radiotherapy, painful weeping PEG site, dry mouth, to name a few). She became low in mood and withdrawn. The cancer had gone, which should’ve been a cause for celebration! But we didn’t anticipate the long-term effects. Mum’s tongue was significantly damaged from the radiotherapy and despite the specialist team intervention, the treatment left her unable to swallow.
Mum’s mood deteriorated. Mum was supported by my wonderful dad who had his own health problems, but didn’t leave her side for a second, my fab brother Duncs, her four smashing grandchildren, family, friends, specialist cancer nurses, Force Charity and mental health services. Without going into too much detail, mum’s constant pain, inability to enjoy life as she had before and the impact on her mental health, led her to do something about it and she‘d always loved the sea. It is two years this weekend and I’m going to the crematorium today with a bunch of dafs, which were her favourite flower.
Three very important messages. Firstly, please visit your GP with any concerns you have and make sure you go back if it persists. You’re not bothering them. They want to see you. This is what they do. This is their job. Secondly, the cancer journey is a very long, very lonely journey, despite the support of loved ones and specialist services. We need to raise awareness of the impact on a person’s mental health. Don’t expect people to feel ok, once the cancer has officially ‘gone’. All treatments have long-term effects, but less evident is the psychological impact. Thirdly, be aware of the impact lifestyle has on your general health. Smoking and obesity are the two biggest causes of cancer in the UK (Cancer Research UK, 2018). Please do something about it. Look after yourself.
Cancer Research UK funding is vital for research, developing services and raising awareness. So, in the style of Sir Bob Geldof and with my very bad Irish accent “Give us your money!” Thanks for reading. X

Latest updates


Laura Swainson



+£1.25 Gift Aid

Well done! A great cause. From the Swainsons x


Paignton & Brixham Health and Social Care Team



Sponsorship money made from Paignton and Brixham Health and Social Care Team, at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust!!!! Thank you!! X


Susan Bywaters



+£2.50 Gift Aid

Well done Nat! Great job :-)


Jane Lanigan



Well done Nat!


Jill Sinnott



+£1.25 Gift Aid

Nicely done Nat! Xxx


Elley Reinhart



Well done that woman!

Total raised£477.74



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