The Haven

Our aim is to help anyone with breast cancer to achieve the best possible quality of life, not just while they are coping with their illness, but long into the future. The Haven is committed to innovating constantly and developing our breast cancer support programme in order to provide the most comprehensive and highest quality support service available. We will seek to expand The Haven programme's availability within the UK to help as many people as possible.
Jan 3, 2014

The Haven Quarterly Report January 2014

The Haven: Breast Cancer Support Centres

An update on recent activities, January 2014

        The Haven in your kitchen

Later this month we will be publishing a much awaited book, The Haven in your kitchen Seasonal recipes for healthy living. This new publication is a companion to The Haven’s Guide to Healthy Eating which we published in 2013. It is our hope that both these books will help educate and inspire breast cancer patients to use food to develop a healthier lifestyle. The charity’s nutritional therapists have chosen healthy recipes that have been particularly popular with our Visitors for people to try at home. The new book, which will have over 60 recipes based on the four seasons and packed full of beautiful photographs, will be available to order from our website from the end of January. 

         Opening up our service to help more people

From February, the London Haven will be trialling a new service which will enable more people to access our programme. Up until now our service has only been available during office hours, Monday to Friday, but thanks to funding from a trust we will now be able to open one evening a week, offering help to those patients that are unable to access our service during working hours. The trial will run until the end of July and if we see a good take-up of the evening opening we will aim to roll this out across all our Havens.

         Breast Cancer Awareness Month boosts awareness and funding

Throughout October The Haven ran a series of awareness and fundraising events under the campaign banner Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each Haven had a packed programme of activity involving the local community, our Visitors and our corporate supporters to help boost awareness of our unique support service and raise vital funds for the charity. We were delighted to have raised nearly £170,000 during the month from this activity.

          The Haven in Wessex Appeal 

The appeal finished 2013 on a high with a stunning carol concert held in the prestigious and historic chapel at Winchester College. The beautiful candle-lit service included readings from several celebrities including Julian Fellowes, the creator of the hit TV series Downton Abbey. So far the Appeal has raised £800,000 which has made a substantial dent in the £2.5 million target to open a new centre in Wessex.

         A Visitor’s story, CJ 

I was pretty proactive with screening because my maternal aunt had breast cancer, but when I asked my radiographer “what do you think” and his sharp intake of breath confirmed the worst, I was totally unprepared for the complete shock I felt. Our adopted boys were then 8 and 11 and my first thought was that I didn’t want to die and abandon the boys – they had already had the upheaval of adoption in their young lives – I couldn’t do it to them again.

Following the initial shock and fear I became strangely calm. I didn’t want the boys to suspect that anything was at all wrong. They needed stability in their lives so until we knew what we were dealing with, I wanted to keep things as normal as possible for them. I got on with telling my close friends and waiting for my treatment. I had a lumpectomy, six cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The cumulative effect of all this made me feel awful. Chemo leaves you very vulnerable to any infections and although I looked after myself and stayed away from lots of people, I just could not miss my sons’ Christmas concerts, so I took the risk and sure enough I caught a cold which put me in hospital for five days.

I picked up a leaflet about The Haven at hospital when I was first diagnosed. I was keen to try anything that might help, so I came in and met the nurse specialist who discussed what support might be most beneficial for me. I spoke to the nutritional therapist who analysed my diet and suggested practical ways that I could improve it; maintain a good weight and even out the peaks and dips in my energy levels. I also had acupuncture which helped to increase my white blood cell count so that I could stay on schedule with my chemotherapy appointments. Keeping to schedule was really important to us as a family because changes to the plan were very unsettling for the boys. I also knew that I needed some help in managing stress on a long term basis and this is where mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) really helped. I went to a class and could see how it would be really useful so I signed up for the Haven course to learn more and I can now practice it at home and it has become a part of my life.

Coming to The Haven has been very good for me. Even just coming in for lunch, to read some books and have a chat with some of the other women going through the same thing is very restorative. You don’t have to explain your situation to everyone – they all just understand.


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Oct 7, 2013

Up date on the Matterhorn Challenge

The Progress of the Haven in Wessex Appeal – the Matterhorn Challenge

They did it! on the 23rd August 2013 they all did it!!!  - Amazing men all - Photographs will follow at some point soon. Setting off at 3 in the morning and getting to the top by about 9 am - back down by 2 in the afternoon. Counted out and counted back in - relief and much joy surrounding their safe return. 

E-mail from Anna Hellier whose husband Tim made the Ascent.

"To be honest it was an extremely emotional journey and - whilst there we experienced just a little of what the boys were facing and it was absolutely terrifying!! We (3 wives and 6 children) also looked after all the climbers and guides during the preparation period, catering for 25 every evening! We had a very happy moment with all climbers and guides crowded around a laptop for Sally's splendid South Today film which was really motivating- thank you Sally! 

On the morning of the climb Jenny Woodman, Rosie Bentley and I spent a very sweaty few hours from 6 in the morning with binoculars trained on the summit, sadly we couldnt see much. After waiting for news from 6:00 we finally heard from them around midday that the first few were down followed by rather a nervous wait until the rest had made it. we (3 wives and 6 children) then hiked as quickly as we could up the mountain pass for 2 hours to meet the boys coming down - elated but absolutely exhausted.

We discovered later that 6 people had died the previous week attempting the ascent!!

From The Haven in Wessex Appeal Manager- Lucy Hone

The Matterhorn Challengers have been pivotal in our campaign for a new Haven in the South of England.

The Haven is currently reaching out at 3 centres- London, Hereford and Leeds,  and the Haven in Hampshire – at the heart of the Wessex region – will be our 4th. It is an essential development in the plans we have to meet our mission that “no-one should ever have to go through breast cancer alone”

2,682 people are in treatment on this region – Hampshire and the margins of its bordering counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex. We will also be reaching out to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight – who have their treatment at Southampton.

The money donated from all around the world, from their friends and families, work colleagues and business contacts has raised a staggering £165,818.58. This includes the Gift Aid .

The Matterhorn Challengers have been crucial in allowing us to identify, and proceed towards a suitable property situated in the south of Hampshire. Their efforts have enabled us to begin the legal and procedural steps to ensure we can buy with confidence.

It equidistant from the two major cancer treatment centres of Southampton and Portsmouth, and within an hours travel of Bournemouth, Winchester, Basingstoke and Chichester. Travel from the Channel Islands and those on the Isle of Wight is usually  to Southampton, so this house is ideally placed.

A large and beautiful character property with plenty of accommodation for therapy rooms and office function it is perfect and its setting near peaceful riverside walks towards the sea and along footpaths into countryside helps extend the range of therapies available to our new visitors when we open.

With all fair conditions in our favour we would hope to have completed the purchase in the next few months and then renovation can begin. As a listed building it will need specialist approval so may well take longer than otherwise but in that time we will be fundraising to ensure that we open with 2 years funding in place to safeguard the early years of service.

We will forever be grateful to the Matterhorn men for their courage and dedication in taking our cause to their hearts. What they did was extraordinarily brave. This is no easily achievable afternoon stroll and their 8 months of training took a huge amount of dedication and resolve.

Never underestimate the determination of a group of men who want to do something different, decide to do it and who  make something very special happen- Here is your proof.

Thank you for your kindness in supporting them and in so doing, improve the future pathway for breast cancer patients in the South of England.

With enormous gratitude from The Haven 

Oct 3, 2013

The Haven Quarterly Report September 2013

The Haven: Breast Cancer Support Centres

An update on recent activities, September 2013

We are getting closer to opening our fourth centre

In April we announced our plans to open a new Haven centre in the Wessex region of England. This area, which encompasses Hampshire, parts of Berkshire, Dorset and Sussex, has one of the highest numbers of breast cancer diagnoses in the UK. There is currently very little support available in Wessex to help people face the challenges of this dreadful disease so there is a clear need for our unique support programme. We need £2.5m to reach our goal of opening a fourth Haven and we are delighted to report that we have already raised well over £550,000. It is hoped that the new centre will open towards the end of 2014

Business-men reach the summit of one of Europe’s highest peaks

A lawyer, a banker, a consultant, two property experts, a financier and an IT specialist with a combined age of 350, have successfully climbed to the summit of the notorious Matterhorn in aid of The Haven in Wessex Appeal. Arguably one of the most challenging peaks in the region, the 4,478metre exposed ascent features a twelve hour rock climb and is notorious for claiming more lives per year than any other rock face in the Alps. The group had previously had very little mountaineering experience but trained hard as part of their preparations for the climb. They all made it to the top and managed to raise an incredible £155,000 towards the Appeal.

Helping cancer patients know their employment rights

Getting a cancer diagnosis can have a huge financial impact as people face lengthy treatment programmes and debilitating side effects causing them to take extensive sick leave. The London Haven has introduced a new seminar designed to give patients confidence and reassurance by helping them work out their rights and protections. This includes advice and guidance on: entitlement to sick pay and annual leave, time off for medical appointments, changes to working conditions and rights to privacy and confidentiality.

A short film about The Haven

 

A short film about how The Haven has helped three women recover from breast cancer was made in time to be launched at the charity’s annual signature event, Blush Cabaret in April. The film tells the women’s individual stories about the impact of having a breast cancer diagnosis but also how The Haven has given them a more positive outlook through its programme of therapies and support classes. The film can be viewed here.

A Visitor’s story, Maggie

 

“I had an almost inevitable feeling about my diagnosis. I’d found a small and very painful lump which stopped me sleeping in my favourite position and I just knew it was cancer. I was in the middle of a really a really terrible family crisis and I just thought “Yes of course it’s cancer - just one more awful thing to deal with,” though in a strange way it did make me focus more on myself instead of the family problem.

I was dealing with a lot of emotional pain that had nothing to do with the cancer and I also have had ME for about seven years, so was feeling pretty stressed. I knew that stress would lower my ability to cope with treatment and recovery and with so much going on, I knew that I needed some strong emotional support.

I was seeing an NHS nutritionist who recommended The Haven. She said, “They have the fullest information for dealing with all areas of breast cancer care,” so the day after my first radiotherapy session I phoned and spoke to the Haven Programme Manager. At my first appointment we discussed what was available. I wanted to have aromatherapy which had been helping with my ME symptoms for a while and also nutritional advice. I also needed help with my emotional upset and stress.

The individual counselling sessions really helped to get to the roots of my emotional problems and have given me effective techniques for dealing with strong negative feelings and stress. Group sessions such as Emotional Freedom Technique and Mindfulness taught me how to quiet my mind when things are stressful. I feel more secure in my ability to choose the right nutrition to keep me healthy and the aromatherapy sessions were blissful and calming.

All the advice I was given helped greatly and it was all given with calm reassurance and empathy. The Haven is aptly named. It has been my lifeline for almost a year now and I know will continue to be there for me.”


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