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.
Jun 26, 2012

The Haven, June 2012 Update

The Haven: Breast Cancer Support Centres

An update on our recent activities, June 2012

We are delighted to report that we are reaching more people who could benefit from our services: we helped a total of 639 different Visitors across our three Havens (in London, Hereford and Leeds) in the first four months of 2012. This is an 11% increase compared to last year in the same period.  While breast cancer incidence rates increase, we are helping more women (and a small number of men) to improve their quality of life while they undergo treatment for breast cancer - and to find their way forward after it.

Outreach Support Days

 We are expanding the outreach project we began last year to increase activities based outside of our Havens, with the aim of taking our specialised support services directly to patients wherever they are.  Our pilot project of six Outreach Support Days, operating from our Hereford Haven, has been very successful and we are now planning ten more events, starting from July 2012.  One Cardiff participant commented:

“The whole day was so useful.  It was great to have the opportunity to meet other women and to share experiences.  It would be wonderful to have something like your Haven in the south Wales area where it is more accessible for people like me.”

 Healthcare Professional Awareness Days

These events have been a huge success in London, and our Leeds Haven successfully held its first session in May, with 16 healthcare professionals attending.  The events are aimed at raising the profile of The Haven among breast care nurses so that they are aware of our free services and how we can help the breast cancer patients they are supporting.  Our evaluation in Leeds showed that 100% of the participants would promote The Haven’s services to their patients.  

Update on new services offered

Our Haven Macmillan Benefits Welfare and Money Management Adviser and Haven Macmillan Information and Support Manager are now operational and offer a variety of new services.  These services are based in London but can support Visitors accessing care and treatment at our other locations; support from these posts is also available for people affected by any kind of cancer, including breast cancer.

"My medical team was very caring but I felt a bit lost after the treatment had ended.  The medical side of things had been taken care of but I couldn’t help thinking: “What next?”

 Case Study-Sukhi , a London Visitor
I was going through an extremely difficult emotional time with my husband working abroad a lot and I couldn’t see the way ahead – but as soon as I entered The Haven building, I felt comforted, safe and nurtured. It became my lifeline. All the therapists were fantastic but it was emotional healing, acupuncture and mind and body therapy that were most empowering and helped me to put my life back on track.  

I finished the cancer treatment over a year ago, and I now feel that the future is going to be a healthy one.  I owe The Haven such gratitude.  It is truly worthy of its name.








Mar 30, 2012

The Haven April 2012 update

One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life.  Our free programme of care can make such a difference to our Visitors’ health and wellbeing, and we are extremely grateful to all our supporters at Global Giving for helping us to care for women and their families affected by breast cancer.  

 More free therapy sessions for our Visitors: We now provide ten free sessions of one-to-one treatment as part of our Haven programme.  Our sincere thanks to Walk the Walk whose funding has made this possible.  Team Haven is also gearing up for London’s MoonWalk in May.

 London 2012: The Haven’s torchbearer, Moira Starkey

 Our 84 year old fundraiser has been selected as an Olympic torchbearer due to her tireless fundraising.  Moira, who uses two walking sticks, completed a full 26 mile marathon by taking 1,876 laps of her village hall over three months.  Moira is preparing for her Olympic glory by walking another marathon. 

 Partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support: We are delighted that Macmillan Cancer Support has awarded us funding for two new posts to be based at our Haven in London.  This partnership will ensure that that people affected by cancer will have access to a wider range of support and services.


 Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for women with breast cancer

The largest and most rigorous study of its kind investigating the impact of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on women with breast cancer has been published online by the prestigious Journal of Clinical Oncology.  MBSR is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in life, and consciously and systematically working with stress, pain, illness and life’s challenges and demands.

 Led by Dr Caroline Hoffman, The Haven’s Clinical and Research Director, the study results show statistically significant improvements in mood, anxiety, depression, anger, vigour, fatigue and confusion for women in the MBSR group compared to women in the control group, which indicates that MBSR could help thousands of women with breast cancer. 

Visitor Lisa Hamilton Jones says: “For the first time in months I felt that a veil had lifted and that I was really living again.  By the end of the course I had regained my positive attitude to life, I could cope with the stress I was under – I could control my anger, and although I still felt desperately upset at times, I could handle it.  The eight weeks spent on the MBSR course were totally life-changing.”


Visit by HRH The Countess of Wessex to our Haven in Yorkshire 

It was our team in Yorkshire’s very great pleasure to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex, The Haven’s Patron, to our beautiful Haven in Leeds city centre.  The Countess took a tour of the building and spent time meeting and speaking to Visitors.  The Countess said: “I’m completely and utterly devoted to The Haven. Thank you for everything you’re doing. Please keep doing it, because it is hugely appreciated.”

Jan 9, 2012

January 2012 project update

The Haven – January update


This month our project update focuses on Melanie – one of our many younger visitors, who has joined our Younger Women’s Support Group at The Haven.  We help women of all ages, and the risk of breast cancer increases as you get older – 1 in 8 women are now at risk of getting this disease at some point in their lives.  We hope this case study highlights for all our supporters the importance of the support we provide to women like Melanie.


Thank you to all of you that have supported us so generously so far.


Melanie Daly, 44, Putney, London

Going through breast cancer as a young woman and with little family support is really isolating and you have different concerns to older women. That’s why the Younger Women’s Support Group at the Haven is so important to me.

I have always been fit and healthy, I go to the gym regularly, eat well and look after myself, so it was a real shock when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt cheated.  I’m young, this isn’t supposed to happen to me now - it’s not in the game plan.

Treatment was really hard. It included a lumpectomy, six lots of chemo and 26 days of radiotherapy. I don’t have much family and it was daunting to face it alone. I felt very isolated.

Despite feeling physically and emotionally drained I had to continue working.  I live alone and do contract work, so couldn’t afford not to be earning. At first I was in denial. This thing was just happening to me but I was trying to carry on as normal. It was only when all my hair fell out that reality hit me. I looked like a cancer patient.

Many other women I met were much older than me. No disrespect to them and what they were going through but they just had such different concerns. They had already had their families and careers. I remember being in a Lympoedema group and saying, “I want to be able to get back to the gym” and they were saying, “ I just want to be able to do the ironing”! In a way that made me feel worse – why me? Why now? I’m in my prime!

Someone at The Marsden told me about The Haven.  It was the Younger Women’s Support Group that turned things around for me. I walked in and everyone was like me.  I finally felt “this is the place for me!” I’ve come most months since then and it is a huge relief to talk to women with similar concerns such as, having a family, earning money, having a fulfilling career and staying fit. In the early days it was reassuring to meet people further on in their recovery. It’s great to know your eyelashes will eventually grow back! Now I also hope I can offer others some inspiration.

Although I still have my dark times and Taxmoxifen still  sometimes makes me feel like  I’m trapped in an old lady’s body – I’m alive! A friend gave me a card which sums it up. It said: “Just when the caterpillar thought that life was over, she turned into a butterfly”. My friends at the Young Woman’s Support Group have really helped me be that butterfly.

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