Hi, I'm Colette and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer (lymph node positive) in September 2011. The first symptoms started in 2008, but were dismissed because they were not typical. My cancer is genetic, as there is a strong history of cancer in my family. This ran for a few generations, both in the men and women on my father and mother 's side. I was treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, Surrey. I had a double mastectomy and auxiliary clearance (lymph nodes removed), chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. After completing my last treatments I felt isolated, angry and sad. A normal reaction to the experience.
It was difficult to find local moral and practical support. Sometimes I could not rely on anyone else. So I grew the energy and the determination to address this particular problem and started Ashtead Cancer Group in 2014.
Today, I am on remission, and must take hormonal therapy tablets for life. I study and volunteer. I have two daughters Teela (27) and Leila (12) . One lives in DC, USA and the other one attends secondary school here in Ashtead.
Sadly, in August 2015, my older daughter Teela was diagnosed with stage 4 CLL/SSL. It is a blood cancer type that normally affects people over 50 years of age. Teela is being treated at Memorial Sloane Kettering in NYC, USA. She has had chemotherapy treatments, but her cancer kept mutating, and in 2017, it developed into non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Teela is an inspiration and a strong woman. She remains positive and hopeful. In early January 2018, we find a perfect match donor for Teela's Stem Cells Transplant. It has been more then a year, since her transplant, and she seems to be recovering quite well. Almost on remission, she has been accepted to George Washington University in DC, USA and has started law school in the Autumn 2019. This is an epic recovery!
If you think about giving your blood or your cord blood to cancer patients with Leukemia, please go to the NHSBT website to find out how you can help. Alternatively, you can register to become a donor at the Anthony Nolan website.
In December 2018, my father, 78 years old, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). He was having chemotherapy treatments and his prognosis was yet to be redefined in the Spring of 2019. Sadly he passed away in the first week of August 2019. There are no words to describe our loss. He was a wonderful man and everyone loved him. I will always miss you daddy, and you left a huge hole in my life.
When I began my journey with cancer, my daughter's and now my father's, I found Ashtead Cancer Group to be a safe place to share my feelings and stories. Members bring so much support to each other.
Throughout the years, we have become a wonderful support network where people affected by cancer in Ashtead can share their stories and from time to time, meet with relevant health-care professionals, fashion experts, social care etc...We work closely with Macmillan charity and often raise money for the Royal Marsden charity.
We work, also, with the Wellbeing Team at Mole Valley Council. We are very blessed that Jo Hannah, a really talented ceramic artist who has a real commitment for art for wellbeing, is available on Fridays between 7-9 pm to deliver ceramic workshops for Ashtead Cancer Group, as part of MVDC’s commitment to support our residents in times of need.
If you are a cancer patient, survivor and or a carer, who needs help, please come and join our meetings, our friendly walks and outings. The group is still growing and our members find relief, strength and ongoing support. Whenever you are ready, we will be there for you.
Colette 't Hart
WHY THE SUPPORT GROUP?
meet ACG committee
COLETTE 'T HART: FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN
MABEL PARRA: TREASURER
VYV KITE: SECRETARY
ANGIE YOUNG: FUND-RAISING COORDINATOR
MARK WITCOMB: MACMILLAN COORDINATOR
CLAUDIA CATWRIGHT: WELLBEING TEAM COORDINATOR AT MOLE VALLEY COUNCIL
WE AIM TO
PROVIDE MORAL, EMOTIONAL AND PRACTICAL SUPPORT FOR CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR CARERS
HELP FIGHT ISOLATION AND CLAIM BACK ONE'S IDENTITY PRIOR CANCER
PROVIDE MENTAL AND PRACTICAL NEEDS FOR CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR CARERS
HAVE A MONTHLY OPEN MEETING WHERE PEOPLE WITH CANCER AND THEIR CARERS CAN EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS, ANGER, FRUSTRATION AND SORROW IN A CONFIDENTIAL SETTING
PROVIDE WEEKLY FREE YOGA CLASSES TO HELP YOU RELAX AND RESTORE BALANCE INTO YOUR LIFE
PROVIDE MONTHLY NORDIC WALKS TO BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM AND FIGHT DEPRESSION
HELP WITH ONCOLOGY, CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIOTHERAPY APPOINTMENTS
PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROYAL MARSDEN, ROYAL SURREY'S HOSPITAL SERVICES AND KEY CONTACTS
PROVIDE INFORMATION VIA SELECTIVE SPEAKERS TO ANSWER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS RELATED TO CANCER ISSUES AND PALLIATIVE CARE
PREPARE CANCER PATIENTS TO GO BACK INTO THE REAL WORLD, LEARN TO FEEL SAFE AND MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT THEMSELVES
GET FINANCIAL HELP INFORMATION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS BECAUSE OF TREATMENTS
FIND RESOURCES IF YOU GO THROUGH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HELP YOU COPE WHEN POSSIBLE
PROVIDE A SAGE PLACE FOR LGBT AFFECTED BY CANCER
HOW WILL THE GROUP BENEFIT YOU?
PREPARE YOU TO GO BACK TO WORKING LIFE, HOBBIES AND SOCIALIZING
REDEFINE YOUR LIFE AFTER CANCER TREATMENTS ARE COMPLETED
RECLAIM YOUR IDENTITY
BRING BACK A POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE - START PLANNING AGAIN
FEEL SAFE IN A FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT TO GROW YOUR CONFIDENCE
MEET NEW FRIENDS WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH SIMILAR JOURNEYS - BEING INSPIRED AND UPLIFTED
FIND RESOURCES AND ANSWERS TO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS AND/OR INNER AMBIVALENT FEELINGS
FIND MORAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL SUPPORT WHEN YOU FEEL VULNERABLE AND FEARFUL
TO FIND OUT MORE PLEASE CONTACT US BY EMAIL AT ASHTEADCANCERGROUP@GMAIL.COM OR SIMPLY FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW. THANK YOU!