Penny Brohn Cancer Care Foundation was founded in 1980, with the aim of providing a more holistic approach to cancer care.
As October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We at Those London Chicks feel honoured to make you aware of the wonderful work of the incredible Penny Brohn Foundation via her daughter Jessica Brohn.
The charity’s work and ethos:
Jessica shares her story about Penny and her incredible legacy:
Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980 when I was 10. In those days, there was so much more fear and discomfort, in how to handle that news. Even people mum knew well would cross the street rather than face a conversation.
As she was lying in hospital, with doctors discussing her tumour, she felt that she wanted to look at her treatment holistically. She just knew that all aspects of her life – mind body, spirit and emotions – were relevant to her getting well, not just the size and type of her tumour.
She bravely (and some thought then, foolhardily) discharged herself and went to a clinic in Germany where treatment was approached holistically and with complimentary therapies.
She returned, feeling well with her tumour shrunk. She felt determined to find a way for people to be able to have a similar experience here in the UK. A safe and supportive place to come to. And so, with Pat Pilkington, co-founded the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, now known as Penny Brohn UK.
As her child and at that time, it was terrifying, not only because my mum was ill and I thought she was going to die, but because she was decidedly taking the road less travelled to get better!!
The creation of the charity was a huge part of my life growing up. Many a time, the dinner table conversation turned to what and how they could make it happen, the struggles and resistance they faced, but then also of course, the utter joy and excitement of being at the front line.
Mum was a true pioneer, a fantastic mother and she did exactly what the charity promotes today – she LIVED WELL with cancer. We enjoyed many many highs and lows of life and cancer, until she died, 20 years after diagnosis having lived with awe inspiring spirit, energy and love.
This pioneering Bristol Whole Life Approach remains central to everything Penny Brohn UK does. They recognise that the challenge many people face, is not dying, but living well with cancer.
The charity was opened in 1983 by our amazing Patron, Prince Charles (who incidentally would send my mum hand written cards and flowers. Penny and Pat were insistent that services should be free and available to all.
And that you can return as often as you need for a top up of additional support.
The National Centre in Bristol offers residential stays and day programmes and total support for clients and their families on the often difficult, confusing and stressful journey of negotiating their cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is a beautiful place, set in peaceful, pretty grounds – so many people say it is their haven.
Penny Brohn UK is inspired by the knowledge that the body is hard wired to heal itself and that each of us can access this powerful internal resource, given the right help and support.
Their whole person LIVING WELL PROGRAMME aims to support this natural process by focusing on every aspect of a person’s life and bringing them into a healthy balance. Our feelings and emotions, what and how we eat, the way we exercise and our mental and spiritual selves, knowing as we do how they are all so closely connected with our bodies.
Responding to a rising need Penny Brohn UK is now partnering with the NHS to offer the Living Well Programme to patients recently diagnosed. It’s an amazing boost to be so acknowledged by the NHS. It also means of course that patients do not have to travel, that the charity’s work is now more accessible to so many more people.
Courses now run in many areas on London including at several hospitals like Barts, Kings College, St Thomas’, St Marks, Tower Hamlets, as well as Kingston, and Croydon University Hospital.
Penny Brohn UK has lead the way for 35 years, working with compassion and care to provide a safe and supportive space to meet the needs of each client as an individual.
Like me, mum would be very proud to see it how far it has come.
But… there’s still so many more people to reach, which is so important for fundraising and for raising awareness.
To find out more about the charity visit their website HERE.
or to simply donate click the pic!
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