Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Real life cancer stories: Paula

1. When were you diagnosed with cancer?
I was diagnosed with lymphoma in June 2014 when my doctors told me my condition was critical and I'd need to start treatment straight away.

2. How was it initially detected?
My cancer managed to evade detection for some time. I'd had a few scares during the preceding four years but then in June 2014 I suddenly felt very unwell. I had terrible stomach pains and was unable to get up so I had to call the doctor out. Fortunately my G.P. sent me to hospital immediately for a CT scan where it was discovered that I'd had a slow growing tumour for some time and I now had an additional fast-growing, aggressive tumour.

3. Is there a history of cancer in your family?
My mother said it occurred every other generation. Certainly I remember my grandmother suffering.

4. What advice would you give to someone going through a similar experience?
I wouldn't presume to give advice, though ask you please to remember how many people are wishing you well. However, when going through chemotherapy I bought myself a good (yes, expensive!) blusher. The nurses always smiled and said "you look well." It helped me to smile in return and to try to be positive.

5. After the passing of your husband, what services did Cancer Research UK provide to help write a new will?
My husband particularly wanted to leave money to Cancer Research UK as his mother had died of cancer in the 1970s. I wanted to ensure that his wishes were honoured but was debilitated by the treatment of my own cancer. I was given a Cancer Research UK leaflet at the hospital and telephoned. A friendly voice gave me the names of local solicitors who could help. A second telephone call to one of those solicitors and the whole burden was lifted - and there were no fees to worry about.

6. Why do you feel it is important to leave a legacy gift in your will?
Cancer treatment is now very different to the 1970s. Nobody really talked about it: it was the 'C' word, a death sentence. Treatment now is very much about getting better whereas in previous generations there was very little hope. Cancer Research UK is currently working hard on early detection which is vital, and targeted chemotherapy which will say goodbye to dreadful side effects. I feel lucky that I'm still here and I want future generations to have some luck too.

7. Do you enjoy the new take on Vivaldi's Spring created by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to raise awareness for legacy giving?
Isn't it wonderful? Such a lovely piece of music and the message couldn't be clearer. A beautiful and generous move by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to support Cancer Research UK.

8. What advice would you offer someone considering leaving a legacy gift?
Do seek legal advice – it's best to get up to date advice as there may have been changes to the law and you want to make sure that your wishes are respected.

Paula is supporting Cancer Research UK’s legacy giving campaign ‘A Third of Vivaldi’s Spring’ with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will to Cancer Research UK, visit: cruk.org/onethird


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