Photo of Michelle and Irene

“I’m a straightforward person. Yes, I have cancer and I’ve decided not to let it define me. I don’t want to sit in a corner, I want to get on with my life and I still am – it’s just different. People see me for what I am: still smiling and still happy.

I feel lucky as I have Sandy from St John’s Hospice to help me. I met Sandy in February after I was diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t sure when I heard the ‘hospice’ word as I thought of it as a building where people go to die. I now see St John’s as an amazing place that helps people, and I’m looking forward to going to the Courtyard Café for lunch soon!

To me the Hospice is home because Sandy comes to me at home. I never knew the Hospice came out to see people at home and it’s great that they do – I couldn’t do without St John’s now. Sandy works with other people involved in my care like the GP and it’s so helpful. If I have a problem, say with medication, I just call her and she sorts it, she doesn’t let me down. Sandy has also helped me get ready for the future by supporting me with my advanced care planning so my wishes will be listened to, in fact she’s helped Mum and Dad too.

Sandy encourages me to be myself, to still socialise, which is great as I love to get out. My friend Irene and I put a bit of bling on and go out for lunch together. It’s nice to get dressed up once a week and feel a bit glamorous and special!”

We caught up with Irene who told us, “Michelle is an exceptional woman. I’ve known her for over 30 years and she’s loyal, caring and helpful. When I had my brain injury Michelle was here for me. We’ve been through a lot and its scary sometimes but Michelle is a determined woman facing her illness head on. When we lunch out together we talk nonsense and have a good laugh because positivity and good thoughts are positive healers. We’re ignoring the ‘red lights’ and letting the sun shine on us. Knowing St John’s is there for Michelle means she’s not alone. That means so much for Michelle, me and her family.