'It was something that solved that day for me' - Women give feedback on comfort box for breast cancer patients
PUBLISHED: 21:40 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 21:55 13 September 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
It is a simple brown cardboard box, filled to the brim with everything from plant seeds to a book of crosswords.
But for women diagnosed with primary breast cancer at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a comfort box from charity Littlelifts was a welcome gift when they had received the most devastating news.
Littlelifts was launched last year by Oa Hackett, from Bawburgh, who herself had breast cancer and was buoyed by receiving gift packages from friends.
Her aim was to ensure every woman going through a similar experience had all the tools she needed for the symptoms and side effects they did not yet know they faced.
Now, a almost a year later, more than 150 boxes have been given out at the NNUH and the service recently launched at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston too.
Women who had received the boxes met at Britannia Cafe in Norwich on Wednesday to give their thoughts on the scheme.
Charlotte Ireland, 47, from Norwich said: “It actually had quite a big impact on me and my family, I have a daughter who was 11 at the time and inside they had things to make ice lollies with which I did with her and there was a seed which you could plant so actually we did quite a lot of things together out of the box. I also took a lot of things from the box when I had surgery so it not only helped me for the last bits of chemo but for surgery as well.”
While 51-year-old Kim Smith, who works for Aviva, added: “When I got home I got settled and obviously discussed what happened and Chris my husband said ‘open your box, it will make you feel better’ and I was blown away.
“I was quite tearful because there were things in that box that really touch you as a person and the symptoms you’re going through and it just felt like somebody had really realised what we are going through and you can give loads of money to charities that solve your future but this was something that was actually solved that day for me and that was a really lovely feeling.”
Some of the women at the feedback event had finished their treatment but others were still going through it.
Mrs Hackett, 32, who left her job at the Princes Trust to focus on Littlelifts full time, said: “I’m incredibly grateful and I’m really lucky to have so much support from my trustees. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t feel overwhelmed, we didn’t think a simple idea would make such a big difference.”