Evelyn was initially diagnosed with cancer five years ago. “I actually got over that,” she says, “I was fine. Then last year it was my husband’s birthday, and I put on a little party for him. I was getting some pain and my daughter said ‘you’d better go back to the doctor’ which I did, and it’s come back.”

 

When her doctor first suggested putting Evelyn in touch with Phyllis Tuckwell, she was very reluctant. “I thought no, there’s no way. I thought it was a place to die. It took me quite a few weeks actually. But I did come, and I’m just so, so glad I did. It was my daughter, she said ‘please mum, just go up there and try it’, and I did, and it’s changed my outlook on life. I feel so much better now. I take each day as it comes, it’s very precious.”

 

Being diagnosed with cancer for a second time hit Evelyn hard, and she began to feel that she couldn’t cope. “It was quite devastating,” she says. “I got very, very low and I felt that I didn’t want to go on.” Our staff assessed Evelyn and referred her to a Phyllis Tuckwell counsellor, who helped her to work through her feelings and worries. “I’ve got over that now,” she smiles. “They’ve made me see things in a different way. If I hadn’t come here, I don’t know what I would have done. Without them I don’t think I would have been able to cope with this cancer. I now don’t see my counsellor because I feel that I don’t really need to, but she’s there for me if ever I need her.”

As well as seeing a counsellor, Evelyn has been attending weekly Day Hospice sessions for five months now, and is driven to and from the sessions by Phyllis Tuckwell’s volunteer drivers. There she has complementary therapies, attends our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture sessions, and enjoys meeting and having lunch with other patients who are in a similar situation to her. “I’ve met some wonderful people, not only patients but the staff, they’re absolutely fantastic. I cannot fault any of them, they are wonderful,” she says.

 

“They do so much for you. I’ve had massages – I’ve had my feet done, my hands, and my back and head. It’s so relaxing, absolutely wonderful. I also came here some months ago and they did a make-over for me, I had my nails done which was very nice. I do gardening here, which is absolutely lovely. Also with my eating, I wasn’t eating very much and they’ve helped me here with that. There’s people here to talk to if you’ve got a problem. I really couldn’t wish for any more than what I’ve had here. Anyone coming here, please don’t be frightened, because it’s not what you expect – it is a hundred times better. Friends I’ve made here over the months have all said the same thing – it helps. I feel so much better in myself. I’m doing more, I’m getting out and doing things.”

Evelyn 2018

Evelyn is having fortnightly chemotherapy treatment, but finds that with our help she is able to cope with these sessions. “I’m ok, I’m handling it. I’m managing. I’m getting through it because of the simple reason that I’ve got lovely people around me, lovely people that help and I am very, very lucky – wonderful friends, wonderful family. I’m enjoying my life, what time I have left. I’ve got a little dog and I go out walking twice a day, and I go out with my son and daughter, and meet friends. They’ve given me so much here that I cannot thank them enough. If ever I want to have a chat, if ever I’m feeling down, they’re always here for me.

 

I love every one of them! I couldn’t ask for any more. I do feel so much better now, because they’re helping me to live well. I was in a bad place at the beginning but I do feel a lot happier now. I’m stronger since I’ve been coming here, much stronger. I’ve got something to hang onto now. It gives me reason to go on.”

 

To help support more people like Evelyn please continue to play the Tuckwell Chase Lottery