Some of our nominated families have a long wait before they can take their respite trip. The charity wants to ensure that each individual has the best experience they possibly can, at the time which is most suitable for their health and circumstances. If this means waiting for several years, that’s what 4 Cancer will do.
Julie was nominated for a Sail 4 Cancer respite opportunity back in 2008, but it was in late 2011 before she was well enough to actually take her trip. She was put forward by a close friend, Lyn (herself a cancer patient), who felt that Julie really deserved a break after all she had been through with her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Sadly though this was only the beginning of Julie’s long cancer journey as she was then diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009 resulting in a bone marrow transplant.
Whilst recovering from this Julie had more bad news with a recurrence in 2010 of the breast cancer for which she needed a full mastectomy. This roller coaster ride of repeated cancer diagnosis, treatment and surgery obviously took its toll on Julie. In spite of this, Lyn describes her friend as ‘a real inspiration to us all.’ The ordeal also affected Julie’s whole family as they lived through the worry and uncertainty and repeated bad news.
After four long and difficult years of living with cancer, Julie wanted to spend some quality time with her husband, adult children and two grandchildren. After working with our liaison team, Julie settled on a holiday that would cater for all of them. A bout of shingles in early summer delayed their plans yet again though. Finally Julie was well enough to travel in September 2011 and the family set off on a fabulous Neilson holiday to Club Teos in Turkey, subsidised by Sail 4 Cancer.
Julie says their holiday exceeded all their expectations with excellent food, glorious weather and helpful staff. Everyone had a fantastic time, including Julie’s two little granddaughters, Melissa (aged 2) and Ella (14 months), who were singled out for special awards which delighted the family. And everyone tried something they’d never done before. Julie had assumed she would just relax and leave the activities to the others, but she delighted herself by trying kayaking for the first time, which she describes as ‘just brilliant!’
Julie said of the holiday:
“We were able to be a normal family for once and nobody knew that I was a cancer patient. It was great for us all to be together for a week and just to forget all about the past few years. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you … what you do really does help families like ours.”