‘Big C has been an enormous help’ - Cancer sufferer praises charity as it launches new helpline
- Credit: The Big C
Finding out you have cancer can be isolating.
But when 73-year-old Linda Murray was told she had incurable secondary breast cancer, her support circle was made even smaller by the fact Linda is deaf.
With nowhere else to turn Linda, from King's Lynn, found help in Norfolk's cancer charity The Big C - which she says has 'boosted her confidence'.
Linda, whose husband Terry is also deaf has 11 grandchildren and 12 years ago the couple the big decision to relocate to Norfolk, where they've been 'blissfully happy'.
However after receiving a letter about a routine mammogram, a lump was discovered in Linda's breast. She said: 'When I found out the news I thought why me? I don't have any family history of cancer. It can't be possible. Terry was equally as shocked as I was. I think he was terrified, he thought I was going to die.
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'He didn't want me to pass away. It's very difficult you see, both being deaf.'
The cancer spread to Linda's bones and meant she had to undergo an operation on her hip. As a result, she will be taking permanent medication for the rest of her life.
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Later, when Linda discovered that the cancer was terminal, she said: 'It broke my heart. I just cried and cried. It really broke my heart.'
Initially, the couple looked for support from other organisations but Linda's application was turned down, saying they could not pay for an interpreter, which was £120 for two hours.
It was Linda's doctor who suggested she contact the Big C for help.
Linda now visits Big C's Centre in King's Lynn along with her husband every month. She has one-to-one care, with the help of an interpreter, nurse support and she has had various complementary therapies. She said: 'Big C has been an enormous help. I've had some good conversations and some counselling. I've been coming every month for two years now. I'm really happy about the situation.
'On my first visit I was very emotional. They asked me if I would like to try one of the therapies.
'There was reflexology, reiki and massage. I can't go just anywhere to get a massage as they don't understand, whereas Big C's therapist does a very gentle one for those with or recovering from cancer. My visits to the centre really boosted my confidence, which is just great.'
Over the last year approximately 8000 people have been given a cancer diagnosis in Norfolk and Waveney.
'More people are being diagnosed with cancer and with medical advances, people are living longer with, and beyond, cancer.
The Big C has support centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Gorleston.
Welcoming people with a 'cup of tea and a listening ear' is one of Big C's key services, with over 13,114 people attending in 2016. Big C's deputy chief executive, Nikki Morris, knows this support is a fundamental part of what the charity offers those in the region who are affected by cancer.
Nikki said: 'At Big C we see first-hand the comfort that someone who is feeling vulnerable can find in simply being offered a cup of tea and a chat. It's an act of kindness and a chance for people to sit together and talk. We offer many such cups of tea every day at our four Big C Centres in Norfolk.'
As part of wide-ranging support and information services for those affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney, Big C has launched a new free telephone support line.
Anyone calling the Telephone Support Line will be able to speak to a Big C nurse or member of the support team, who have the local knowledge and expertise to help answer any questions they may have about their own cancer diagnosis, or that of a relative, friend or colleague.
Nikki added: 'It's natural to have questions, concerns and worries. Whether you want reliable information about something particular, or you just need to talk to someone about what you, or your loved ones are going through, you can call our new Telephone Support Line to speak to our Support Team or a Big C nurse.'
For free information and support, contact the Big C telephone support line on 0800 092 7640.
To speak to a Big C Nurse, call on Wednesday and Fridays from 6pm to 7.30pm. Or to speak to the Big C Centres during the day, called Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.