Amanda’s Story | International Women’s Day
On #InternationalWomensDay we are celebrating all the strong and courageous women diagnosed with cancer or caring for a child with cancer.
In March 2018, our Events and Campaigns Officer Amanda Steele was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at 38 years old. For Amanda and her family, the support of local cancer charities was a life-line. She says,
Navigating The Emotional Fallout
“I have worked in the charity sector for many years and have worked for Cancer Fund for Children since 2011. I never thought that I would become a service user myself however having that help to navigate the emotional fallout in the aftermath of my cancer diagnosis was vital.
I lost my hair, and it was a really tough time for my daughter and twin stepsons. I went on to have two surgeries and radiotherapy and thankfully have been in remission since. As well as gruelling treatment, I had to contend with taking time out of work, financial concerns, loss of fertility, the impact on my appearance and coping with the worries of children who didn’t understand the changes to normal family life.
I very quickly accessed support for my family through Cancer Fund for Children and a number of other charities such as Action Cancer and MacMillan. They made a huge difference to me in how I coped emotionally with treatment and the toll it took both physically and mentally.
The twins were able to benefit from individual support from Laura one of Cancer Fund for Children’s Specialists. She gave them space to ask questions, vocalise their fears and helped them develop strategies to cope with their fears. We were also able to stay at Daisy Lodge and the benefits to us all were huge. I was able to have from complementary therapies and we all took part in family centred activities.
The year following my treatment I felt very strongly that I wished to give back and do my best to make my experience something that could be viewed positively. I strongly believe that patient voices should be at the centre of decision making when it comes to care, treatment, research, and support services.
As a result, I now sit as a patient representative on a number of groups within the health service that strive to improve patient experience. The system is far from perfect and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will have ramifications for years to come. I believe it is important to raise my voice to challenge problems and inefficiencies for those women that are coming behind me.”
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your story on International Women’s Day.
Find out more about the support we provide to children, young people and families impacted by cancer here.