The Haven Lifeline


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The Haven

Actor Martin Clunes presents an appeal on behalf of the Haven, a charity giving care and support to people with breast cancer.


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Over 50,000 people a year are diagnosed with breast cancer.

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A few years ago, one of my oldest and best friends

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found out that she had breast cancer.

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I'm delighted to be able to tell you that with chemo and radiotherapy,

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she's absolutely fine now,

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but it was a grisly and a terrifying period,

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not just for her, but for her family and her friends too.

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She told me that about the nicest thing

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that had happened to her in that time

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was discovering this place, The Haven.

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This is one of The Haven charity's five centres across the country,

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offering one-to-one programmes of care and support to help

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the thousands of people with breast cancer regain their quality of life.

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That might mean anything from complementary therapies

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to exercise classes and counselling.

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Over 1,000 people in the last year have benefited from their services.

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Pat and her husband, Pete, were running their own business

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and living an active, outdoors life with their daughter,

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here in Shropshire.

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Until in October 2009, everything changed.

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I did actually feel a very, very small lump in my right breast.

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Pete said, "You know, you should really go and get it checked out."

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It wasn't until November, until I got to the doctor's,

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and she sent me straight to the hospital.

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Pat was told she had breast cancer

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and would soon learn it had spread to her liver and spleen.

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She was given chemotherapy,

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a course of medicines to eliminate cancerous cells.

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But it knocked me for six.

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Unfortunately, I just could not stop being sick.

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But at the end of the six months...

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really, my cancer hadn't changed.

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On top of this, she later developed a blood clot on her leg

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and carpal tunnel syndrome,

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which gave her pain in her fingers and toes.

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And that's when I really got to my lowest

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because it just seemed that every day I woke up

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there was something else.

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There's nothing worse than seeing somebody who you love, um, suffer.

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Just nothing that you, as a person, or I, as a husband or father,

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could do to take that pain away...

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HE EXHALES DEEPLY

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As Pat found out at that dark moment,

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cancer has a huge psychological as well as a physical impact.

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The Havens are here to help people through every aspect of cancer.

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Come on, Victoria.

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Pete booked me into their open day and drove me down there.

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They said, "No, OK, I had six months of chemo..."

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"It hadn't gone, but it hadn't got worse," and I came out of there

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feeling positive for the first time in over six months.

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Cos from that day...

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..they turned my life around.

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..Just tuning into the sensations in the body as we do so.

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The Havens offer therapies which help people

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cope with the debilitating effects of chemotherapy.

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..much more within ourselves.

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They also give advice on anything from diet to finances.

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And then, onto the other side, so firmly...

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It's the chance to focus not on the illness, but on life.

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Does that really help you guys

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when you're being battered and bullied by doctors?

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-Yeah.

-Because when you're in treatment

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or being diagnosed or anything,

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it's just a continuum - hospitals, appointment.

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Then, I mean, to come here,

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it really is, it's well named - The Haven.

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And it really is a life-saver, and I mean that.

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-Seriously.

-I believe you.

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I've had lots of therapies. My favourite is acupuncture.

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It helps with the carpal tunnel syndrome.

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I've got two bad knees and I've had trouble walking.

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If I'm feeling bad, I go,

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and I just feel so, so much better when I come out of there.

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-And you couldn't, could you?

-No...

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'Haven nurse Tina Glynn

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'helps people choose their programme of treatments.'

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We see people struggling with the emotional fallout

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of being diagnosed with cancer, side effects...

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Each of our centres is led by a nurse specialist

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and the therapists are not only experts in their own therapy,

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but are experts in helping people with a cancer diagnosis.

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But do they come in alone or do they come in with their families?

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-Um, I would say on the whole, alone...

-Really?

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..but they can do, they can come in with families.

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Anyone affected who's struggling.

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Pat's daughter Victoria has often visited The Haven with her mum.

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Back when Pat was diagnosed, Victoria was only ten.

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The Haven has been incredible.

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The main thing that everyone always says is, "Just ask questions,"

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it's, like, don't be afraid to ask, and no question

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is a stupid question if it's worrying you or anything.

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You walk in and it's just so calm

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and it's done really incredible things for my mum

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and us as a family.

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As everyone here will tell you, a full course of treatments

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really helps to make them feel less like patients

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and more like people again.

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But that costs about £1,000 each

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and The Haven relies on donations for that.

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Jackie works at a thriving publishing company,

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but her life was thrown into turmoil when she was only 32.

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I discovered a lump on Christmas Eve

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and I got engaged to my partner of 13 years on Christmas Day.

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But sad to say that three weeks later,

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we weren't talking about guest lists and venues,

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we were talking about fertility preservation, chemotherapy,

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radiotherapy and mastectomy surgery.

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For Jackie, The Haven was about something beyond

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the medical treatment she was getting from the hospital.

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What The Haven are really quick to say, is that we're not here

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to replace the mastectomy surgery or the chemotherapy, or...

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They understand there is a way to kind of give you your life back

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to get your head right as well as your body.

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The Haven also reaches out to people using the internet

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and Jackie took part in

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an exercise video for the charity's website.

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It was a great opportunity to do

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something that we knew would be

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helpful to people who wouldn't

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be able to make it to a Haven.

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They could be anywhere in the world and they could still benefit

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from The Haven's wise guidance.

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With all the support around her, Jackie felt strong enough

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to take up running, even before her chemotherapy was complete.

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So, I'm training for the London Marathon.

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I did my first ever 10k a week before my last chemo with no hair,

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a PICC line in my arm and my acute oncology card in my back pocket.

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Running really makes me feel alive.

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-Well done!

-Whay!

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As for Pat,

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she and her family have also taken part in fundraising events.

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'We swam a mile in Lake Coniston, which was great fun.'

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Well done, amazing.

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We've done charity balls...

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The latest thing I did was a fashion show.

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Pat managed all of this despite still having cancer.

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It has now spread to her bowel, lungs and stomach

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and she has a scan every few months to monitor it.

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It's not going to get any better, but hopefully,

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it won't get any worse.

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-PETE:

-Aw!

-PAT LAUGHS

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If we hadn't have found The Haven, I honestly do think that

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I would be in a wheelchair all the time

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and our quality of life wouldn't be as good.

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It definitely wouldn't be.

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Cancer takes a lot. It took my right boob, it took my lymph nodes.

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It took my taste buds, it took my hair.

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The Haven gives you something back,

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it gives you a little piece of yourself back.

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Every year, thousands of women receive medical treatment and care

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so that they can survive breast cancer.

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The Haven helps people rebuild their lives with extra support -

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and they really do, I've seen it first-hand.

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So, please, give what you can today and then

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they can help more people with breast cancer live life to the full.

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To donate, please go to the website...

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To give by phone, call...

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Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

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You can also donate £10 by texting...

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Texts cost £10, plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to The Haven.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to "The Haven" and send it to...

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..writing "Haven" on the back of the envelope.

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And if you want the charity to claim Gift Aid on your donation,

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please include an e-mail or postal address

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so that they can send you a Gift Aid form.

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Thank you.

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Actor Martin Clunes presents an appeal on behalf of the Haven, a charity giving care and support to people with breast cancer. At five centres across the UK, the Haven's specialist nurses run programmes of complementary therapies, exercise classes and counselling to help people cope with the debilitating effects of treatment and the emotional toll of living with the disease. Martin feels a strong connection to the Haven because one of his best friends had such a positive experience here.

The Haven supports people from first diagnosis, alongside the medical treatment they are receiving. Jackie Scully found a lump when she was just 32, and felt her life collapse around her. Luckily for Jackie, the Haven was there to help, supporting her through the psychological as well as physical effects of breast cancer. As Jackie puts it, "The NHS saved my life - the Haven gave it back to me". Jackie is now training for the London Marathon.

The Haven needs £1,000 for each programme of complementary therapies and counselling, and relies on donations to help more people with breast cancer get back their quality of life.