An inspirational man visited cancer patients using the Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre at North Middlesex University Hospital in Edmonton yesterday (Tuesday March 23, 2010).
Phil Packer, who sustained spinal injuries while serving with the British Armed Forces, has chosen the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity as one of 26 to support while undertaking this year’s London Marathon.
Phil was told he would never walk again after being badly injured in February 2008. However since this devastating news, Phil has set himself physical challenges and this year he plans to walk the 26-mile London Marathon in aid of 26 charities in 26 hours (last year it took him 14 days).
One of which is the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.
Joining him on mile 12 will be cancer patient and Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre user Stephanie Houltby.
Stephanie said: Im really looking forward to walking with Phil and I feel it is a real privilege to be part of this and help raise money for a charity I feel so passionately about.
Phil hopes to raise a significant amount of money from his marathon challenge which will be split 26 ways. The donation given to the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity will be ploughed in to help cancer patients in the south east benefit from centres like the one in Edmonton.
26-year-old Stephanie has been using the support centre at North Middlesex University Hospital since her diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma in February 2009.
Stephanie, who works as a midwife, added: Within a few days of beginning my chemotherapy I was booked in for my first appointment with one of the therapists at the Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre.
The reflexology sessions not only gave me the opportunity to talk openly about how I was feeling, they provided a space to relax and feel at ease from the grinding chemo regime.
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity provides cancer patients with access to therapies including counseling, reflexology, manual lymph drainage, aromatherapy and Bach flower remedies.
Stephanie added: Its often heard that people feel lost once their chemotherapy or radiotherapy finishes and the appointment cycle slows, however when I completed my treatment, the Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre was there for me.
After my eventful year I am now back to work and enjoying the feeling of being in remission. I can honestly say I dont think my recovery would have gone so smoothly without the welcome and caring nature of everyone at the support centre.
Phil Packer decided to choose the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity as he won the BBC Sport Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award at the end of 2009. He was inspired by Helen Rollasons battle with cancer in the public eye and wanted to find out more about her legacy.
He said: I have now realised that while in hospital, the support from many people assisted me through the dark times. The question that I keep asking myself is: What if I did not have this support? I am now committed to ensuring I give as much as I can to those people that need support through those dark days.
The Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre is housed conveniently inside the North Middlesex University Hospital adjacent to the radiotherapy department. The charity aims to support to cancer patients and their carers throughout varying stages of peoples cancer journeys.
Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centre co-ordinator Rebecca Brainerd said: People coming to the centre often say how beneficial they find our services. We try to encourage a peaceful environment in which people living with cancer can come and not feel judged.
We were absolutely delighted Phil could visit us, talk with the therapists and cancer patients. We hope he got a real sense of what the charity is about.
Visit www.helenrollason.org.uk for more details on the charity.
For more information about Phil and his London Marathon challenge www.philpacker.com
Press contact: PR Officer – Melissa Matthews 01245 514700
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity has four cancer support centres: two in Chelmsford, Essex; one in North Middlesex Hospital, London; and another in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, offering support to cancer patients along with their carers, family and friends.
The support centres offer counselling and a range of complementary therapies including reflexology, aromatherapy, counselling, massage and Manual Lymph Drainage.
The charity has a research laboratory at Anglia Ruskin University undertaking world-class research into a new potential biomarker and investigating whether we can predict responses to chemotherapy.
There is also a team of research nurses caring for cancer patients on clinical drug trials offered by the charity.
The charity has 11 retail shops in Hertfordshire, Essex and London and aims to extend its recently launched cancer support groups.
The charity, named after the first woman to present Grandstand, BBC Sports Helen Rollason MBE, marked its 10th anniversary of Helens involvement throughout 2009.
The BBC sport journalist gave her name and image to the charity, before she died of cancer in 1999, in a bid to attract national and international support.
She shared the vision of her oncologist, Professor Neville Davidson, that people should be treated as a whole and not just their illness.
She said: "Good quality of life while coping with cancer is the most important gift a sick person can receive; it should be available to everyone."
The charity receives limited funding, but relies heavily on funding from the community.
Registered Charity No. 1052861
Patron: Lord Coe KBE