Angela Mills recently took part in the ASDA Nottingham 10k race to raise money for CARE, our programme for people living with cancer that uses physical activity aid with recovery. She has had cancer herself, and knows first hand the important work our CARE team does. “I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2008 when I was 33 and had been married for 5 months.” The treatment she underwent, which included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a course of herceptin, took the best part of year. “I put on quite a bit of weight, and that affects your self-esteem and the way you see yourself. There was also some limb pain as a side effect from the drugs.”
When the cancer returned in 2014. Angela heard about our CARE programme through her support group at the hospital, and started attending sessions at the Portland Centre. “Mentally and emotionally it was such a help to have the regular exercise and the support of the group.” She believes having access to the CARE programme really helped her, especially when she had to return to hospital for a further surgery: “I was in much better shape physically and mentally, and just felt so much better. I used to just look in the mirror at the gym and say “I can do this – I can get through this next surgery.”
The progress she had made with the help of CARE is plain: “When I started I couldn’t do a sit-up, I couldn’t do a shoulder bridge or a press-up, but and the team were so encouraging. The staff are aware of the impact of cancer treatment, and they put in a a range of exercises to fit that you wouldn’t get in a normal gym session – chemotherapy can affect your balance so doing things like standing on one leg and throwing a bean-bag in the air is actually a really important exercise. And I’m not sure any other exercise classes would be aware of the need for that.”
For Angela, CARE led her on a journey that provided her with the confidence and base fitness she needed to start training for bigger challenges. She completed her 10k run in under an hour, raising £200 for Football in the Community, and plans to take on the Robin Hood Half Marathon next.
Angela encourages people to seek out the CARE programme “What have you got to lose? Exercise improves and lifts your mood, and you have people there who understand the impact your treatment has had on you physically and emotionally and mentally. They will give you the right advice, so you can be assured that you’re in good hands, and then just being alongside other people who know what you’re going through – how your life has changed, and some of the sadness you might feel about that change or the worry – what does the future hold. This is something you can take control of again, and hopefully feel a bit more like you. It’s important toot take that time for yourself.”