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“I’m a great believer in positivity”

2nd February 2018

On World Cancer Day, hear from Suzanne.

“I’m a great believer in positivity and how amazing people around you can be,” says Suzanne Graesser who is living with cancer.

Suzanne, who lives in a Worcestershire village, is in her mid-forties and was first diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She had chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy treatments but was told she had secondary cancer in her pelvis just months later.

“At first I was in shock and it felt as if I was in a film, but then I realised it was actually about me”, she said.

Suzanne was introduced to Sue Sharpe, a Secondary Breast Cancer Nurse who is employed by St Richard’s Hospice to work in partnership with Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Sue is a specialist nurse who helps guide people through the complex journey of treatments and emotions after diagnosis.

“Sue’s been fantastic,” said Suzanne. “I was going downhill quite rapidly and struggling to walk initially so Sue suggested I see the St Richard’s physiotherapists to help get my mobility back. I’ve been coming to adapted tai chi sessions and been given exercises to do which really help, particularly with relaxation.

“When I walk out of a tai chi session with St Richard’s I feel nice and relaxed and have learned techniques and exercises which are useful and the right level for me. “

Suzanne, who is now semi-retired from the IT consultancy and support business her husband established, added, “I knew a little about hospices but I hadn’t expected that they offer quite so much. I thought it was much more about immediate care.”

Suzanne is among people who are attending free Living Well courses run by the St Richard’s team, helping individuals to learn new skills and techniques through education, exercise, therapies and group support.

Having cancer in her forties was something Suzanne had never thought about but says she soon realised there are many more people in her age range and younger living with the illness.

“So many people have experienced cancer themselves or with family and friends. My support network has been fantastic.  As well as my family and friends, other people are amazing and have been very kind offering help, or a listening ear, giving me the strength I need. I’ve been very grateful to all of them.”

Suzanne, who has a 13 year old son, says the consultants cannot give her a time frame as it depends on each individual and how you respond to treatment.

Her advice to anyone diagnosed with cancer is, “Accept support from friends and family and I’m a great believer in staying positive.”

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: To protect patients and staff  from the spread of the virus, we are following national guidance and therefore it is with regret we are not able to accept visitors. Please do not hesitate to contact the In-patient Unit with any questions on 01905 958163. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.