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Cancer patients show life goes on in inspirational new calendar

6th February 2019

People living with cancer on the Fylde Coast have shown how they have been able to get on with their lives in spite of the disease – by taking part in an inspirational new calendar.

From trekking across Iceland to gardening and enjoying time with family, the calendar reminds cancer patients that a diagnosis doesn’t have to put an end to enjoying life.

The pictures selected for the calendar – given free to every patient diagnosed or undergoing a new round of treatment in 2019 – came from a competition run by the Fylde Coast ‘living with and beyond cancer’ team, based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The pictures featured in the calendar are all of cancer patients getting on with their lives, based on the theme ‘with cancer I can…’ which depict people living with cancer doing activities or just enjoying life.

The idea for the calendar came from Simone Robinson, of Blackpool, whose life was rocked by a breast cancer diagnosis last June.

She said: “My husband Alan and I were very shocked by the news of my diagnosis and within a very short space of time the appointments at the hospital soon began to stack up, often to the point of clashing with each other.

“We realised that, although the hug in a bag (a bag of useful items given to cancer patients by Macmillan Cancer Support in Blackpool) is a lovely idea, it didn’t have the most practical Item in it – a calendar.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for people affected by cancer to showcase some of their achievements and aspirations while still undergoing or recovering from treatment. The response was overwhelming as dozens of lovely photographs arrived.”

Steve Tingle, a cancer patient from Thornton whose image ‘With cancer I can … Cultivate cacti’ was selected for the calendar, said: “This was the first of my many interests I got back into after my operation as there was no heavy lifting, just pottering about in the fresh air.

“I was pleasantly surprised to be told I was one of the winners and I am glad I can show people you can survive cancer and carry on with your life.”

Another competition winner featured in the calendar was Blackpool breast cancer survivor Sue Biddlestone. She said: “To be diagnosed with cancer is absolutely devastating and hopefully the calendar will provide hope and inspiration to the patients so they can see that life does go on with cancer and after treatment and to embrace their hobbies and make new friends in the process.”

Dr Adam Janjua, a Fleetwood GP and chair of the Fylde Coast cancer steering group, said: “One of our key priorities across the Fylde Coast health service is to provide better support for people living with and beyond cancer. We spoke with cancer patients and they came up with the idea of the calendar which includes information and advice along with the motivational pictures.”

The calendar is also available to buy from the Windmill Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital or by emailing hannah.mckearnen@nhs.net. All proceeds will go towards funding the 2020 calendar.

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