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.
Mar 16, 2017

Breast Cancer Haven latest news - March 2017

Breast Cancer Haven: An update on recent activities, March 2017

Helping more people with breast cancer in London

As of March we are delivering a one day a week service at HCA Wellington Hospital in Golders Green, London. Beneficiaries of the service can expect up to six free hours’ of supportive therapies to help them cope better with the side effects of breast cancer. Our outreach provision doesn’t end there as we will be opening a similar service at the Whittington Hospital in North London from June, as well as offering a monthly secondary breast cancer support group at the University College London in central London.  These services which have been made possible by the charity, Future Dreams, are enabling us to reach many more people suffering from the effects of breast cancer in the capital.

Breast Cancer Haven in the West Midlands

We will soon be starting the refurbishment work on our newly acquired property in Solihull which is south of Birmingham, the UK’s second biggest city. The work should take around six months to complete in time for an October opening, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Big Tea Cosy

Our new mass participation fundraising campaign The Big Tea Cosy ran throughout February across the country. Supporters of the charity were encouraged to hold their own tea parties and raise money through this activity. Tea parties, which have been taking place in village halls, schools, churches and private homes, have so far raised around $50,000. It is our aim to grow this campaign nationally year on year so it becomes a firm favourite in the fundraising calendar.

Breast cancer survivors take to the catwalk

Women who have used our services at Breast Cancer Haven, Yorkshire took part in a fashion show called Blossom to raise money for the charity. This hugely popular event which has now been running for four years has really built momentum and is attended by around 500 people. Women of all ages, background and shapes take to the catwalk to model clothes and lingerie. One thing they all have in common is that they have survived breast cancer. This event is a major step in helping these women to rebuild their confidence and feel better about the way they look. The event raised a total of $35,000.

Breast Cancer Haven helped me move forward

Treatment for breast cancer is like stepping into the unknown. With planning ahead virtually impossible, it becomes hard to know how to move forward and make the right decisions.

Caroline, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and again in 2014, understands this more than most. She admits she went back to work too quickly in 2010 because she felt that was the right thing to do. But, it wasn’t until she found Breast Cancer Haven (via a leaflet at the hospital) that she began to recognise that she couldn’t cope and needed to focus on her recovery.

‘I needed someone to make that decision for me and push me in that direction,’ says Caroline. ‘The team at Breast Cancer Haven made me realise that it was ok to make time for me.’

Make time is exactly what she did, with a series of therapies focused on relaxation and mindfulness. And when she hit rock bottom in 2014 - faced with more surgery and chemotherapy - she knew exactly where to turn.

With free services on offer, Caroline is grateful she never had to think twice about a trip to the centre in Leeds Centre. And, with practical and financial advice – the team helped her secure a small grant – it played an important part in her recovery.

For Caroline, Breast Cancer Haven was a “calming and welcoming place, where you could be yourself, with or without a wig.” The actual process of travelling to the Centre was important too: “I could have driven, but I chose to get the bus so I could use the appointments as a way to get out in public,” says Caroline. “I felt able to do that because I knew that the Centre wasn’t far from the bus station and that when I got there I’d feel immediately less vulnerable. It gave me the chance to be around people without feeling the need to explain myself.”

Today, Caroline works fewer hours with less responsibility and understands the real impact of stress on her body.  “Breast Cancer Haven helped me think about what is important in life and I will be forever grateful for the support and reassurance they offered me.”


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Dec 16, 2016

Breast Cancer Haven latest news - December

Breast Cancer Haven: An update on recent activities, December 2016

Reaching out to more breast cancer sufferers in London

From March 2017 we will be opening new in-depth, breast cancer support services in the capital. These new services will be working in conjunction with two major London hospitals. The first will be located within the Wellington Hospital in north London and the second in University College Hospital in central London. These services have been made possible by the charity, Future Dreams.

Groundbreaking new research

Our research team is working with the University of Southampton and Worcestershire NHS breast unit, in the preparation of a study for funding which will examine this question: Can the not-for-profit sector support for people with breast cancer reduce reliance on the National Health Service? This study proposal which will look at cost effectiveness, as well as quality of life, will be submitted for external funding in 2017.

The Big Give Charity Challenge

Our charity was selected to participate in this year’s Big Give Charity Challenge. This is when online public donations are matched by a ‘charity champion’ from the corporate business centre. Over a three-day period we managed to raise an impressive $63,000! This money will go directly to supporting our service users.

A Royal Festive Reading

We very recently held our 17th Christmas Carol Concert at the beautiful Victorian church, St Paul’s, in London’s Knightsbridge. We were delighted to have some big name celebrities who performed their favourite festive readings. This included the highly acclaimed actor, Timothy West CBE, the fashion designer and sister to Sienna, Savannah Miller, the up and coming actress, Kate Phillips and HRH The Countess of Wessex. The concert raised over $22,000 for Breast Cancer Haven, London.

Jess’s story

Jess is 38 years old, has a 5 year old son, and lives in Gosport and is a teacher in a local school. Jess’s life was turned upside down in January when she received a breast cancer diagnosis, it was a huge shock and life’s priorities suddenly changed overnight.

Jess was given a leaflet about The Haven from her sister and was able to attend an introductory day in February where she learnt about how we were able to assist her with the side effects of surgery and treatment that lay ahead.

Jess faced a mastectomy and reconstruction in March, and has begun chemotherapy this week; she is bravely facing her breast cancer head on and with great spirit. Jess said:

“The Wessex Haven is so friendly and welcoming and is helping me be positive about my breast cancer diagnosis. I have the opportunity to speak to people whose knowledge and expertise is specific to breast cancer, and receive tailored support and therapy that is unique to me. Where else would I go for such support, my friends are wonderful but here is about a process of moving forward and is somewhere for me to be reassured, with expert care and understanding. At the Haven I am given time to talk, to just be. I have found the breast cancer support group for younger women a positive way of sharing fears, experiences and making friends going through similar things”

If you know someone who could benefit from visiting us at The Haven please LIKE and SHARE this post, the more we make it travel on our timelines the more people we know we are reaching who need help. If you would like to visit please ring 01329 559290.


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Sep 6, 2016

Breast Cancer Haven Latest News - September

Breast Cancer Haven: An update on recent activities, September 2016

 

Finding comfort through peer support

Sourcing help and support through the internet is becoming increasingly common. It is also a great way to promote our free breast cancer support services to the many thousands of women affected by the disease each year. So we are delighted to have teamed up with a peer support forum, Healthunlocked which is endorsed by the UK’s National Health Service. Healthunlocked is where you can go to discuss common topics in a safe online environment and connect with other people in a similar situation.

We help families too

Not everyone knows that our free support extends to our beneficiaries’ partners and children too. A cancer diagnosis will affect the whole family and we can help them cope better by offering free counselling. Read Daniel’s story below.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With breast cancer being responsible for the most deaths of women worldwide keeping awareness levels high about the disease will always be a priority for charities working in the field. So that’s why October is always a very busy time for us as it is the global Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

During the month, which is fast approaching, we will be holding several events to tell people about what we do but also to gain as much support as possible to enable us to fulfill our mission of improving the quality of life for those affected by this terrible disease. Our wonderful supporters will be helping to raise money by undertaking daredevil challenges including a skydive or zipwiring across Bournemouth Pier!

To help put our cause under a spotlight, literally, the world famous fountain in London’s Trafalgar Square will be glowing pink for us on 6 October.

Mum’s the word

One little boy in Hampshire wanted to show his appreciation of how much Breast Cancer Haven had helped his mother during her battle with breast cancer. Archie, eight, pulled off, what would seem to most people, the impossible, a sponsored 15 minute silence in his school. All the students got behind their friend and helped him raise over $5,000 for the charity.

His mother, Sally, said: “I am so proud of Archie. The way he has dealt with my diagnosis is unbelievable. The children were so quiet you and you wouldn’t believe it how seriously they took it. The day was quite an emotional experience but it was absolutely fantastic.”

Daniel’s story

Victoria and I have been together since we were 17 and married for six years and although we both had demanding careers, we were at the point of really settling down and starting a family. It all started when my wife Victoria mentioned that something didn’t feel right in her left breast. Our doctor quickly referred us to a consultant who immediately sent Victoria for a scan and a biopsy. We were both called back into the consultant’s office and I noticed that a breast care nurse was also present. The doctor told us that they had seen something they didn’t like and this made me feel frightened as you know when they use a phrase like this they are often trying to soften bad news. When the results of the biopsy came in they confirmed breast cancer and when I heard this my whole world fell apart, I was shocked and surprised and didn’t know what to feel. 

I wondered how I was going to help Victoria, I simply had no idea. They told us that they wanted to carry out an operation to examine Victoria’s lymph nodes first, then she would undertake chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before having surgery to remove it. Before she started her chemotherapy course Victoria and I went shopping for a wig and we tried to make it fun but I must admit that I really didn’t think that I would be doing something like this at our age.

Victoria took the chemotherapy well, the after effects would hit her 24 hours later but she said with one of the treatments it was just like having flu with aching limbs. I felt terrible for her but she was remarkably sanguine and it was during this period, that we started visiting The Haven. Victoria benefitted from a whole range of therapies and for me the counselling gave me a chance to open up and expose my emotions. I think it’s a guy thing not to show emotion and although I was very close to and well supported by my parents, I didn’t want to upset them.

After Victoria had her breast surgery, the doctor told us we were free to get on with our lives. I was over the moon at this news. Going through something like breast cancer does put a huge strain on your relationship; you have to put things like ambition and dreams for the future on hold.

The Haven offers you a chance to release your emotions and however much you think you may not need that at least give it a try. I was sceptical before I came but the counselling was fantastic and at the time you don’t realise how mentally draining going through something like this is. Don’t be afraid to let out your emotions and look after yourself so that you can look after your partner. The Haven helped us to support each other much better. I would say to anyone who may be the partner of someone going through breast cancer, don’t be afraid to ask for help especially as The Haven really understands what you are going through and offer invaluable support.


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