Hurstpierpoint cancer survivor needs £1,000 for car repairs to keep volunteering with Macmillan
A cancer survivor from Hurstpierpoint is hoping to raise £1,000 to repair her car so she can continue volunteering with a cancer charity.
Jacqueline Small, 56, who volunteers for Macmillan Cancer Support, said her Citroen DS3 broke down because of an electrical fault.
Jacquie said she ‘just fell to pieces’ when she found out the repairs would cost over £2,500.
Thankfully, she has found a mechanic who can get the car back on the road for less than half that price, but Jacquie said it is still a lot of money because she is currently unemployed.
“My friends are trying to rally round and help as much as they can,” said Jacquie, adding that they have been ‘amazing’ recently and throughout her cancer treatment.
She said she was ‘overwhelmed’ when they set up a GoFundMe page for her that has already raised £310 since Monday (November 8).
Jacquie said she is also borrowing a friend’s car to get to Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton three times a week.
She has always supported Macmillan in some form and said she would be ‘absolutely heartbroken’ if she could not continue to volunteer for them.
The Macmillan Horizon Centre is opposite the cancer unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, said Jacquie.
“That’s where everybody has chemotherapy, radio therapy and that’s where I had all my treatment,” she said, adding that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2019.
She underwent surgery in February 2019 and once she had recovered from that she endured six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by 25 rounds of radiotherapy.
“I can honestly say it’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” she said. “I went to some very dark places because the toxicity made me so poorly.”
Jacquie then took a genetic test because there is a history of female cancer in her family.
This revealed that she is carrying the PALB2 gene.
“It’s quite rare,” said Jacquie, explaining that this means the risk of her cancer coming back is ‘extremely high’.
As a precaution, she said, her oncologist and surgeon have advised a life-saving double mastectomy.
“I’m on the high priority list, but because of Covid it’s been delayed,” she said. “It’s already a year so it’s just a big black cloud at the moment.”
Jacquie said her current situation is scary and that chemotherapy has left her with a range of side effects
“I’ve been forced into a medically induced menopause almost,” she said.
“Everything hurts, I have the hot flushes, I get very emotional and I’m constantly second guessing anything that goes wrong,” she added.
To make matters worse, Jacquie has not been able to see her new granddaughter since finishing the treatment.
“I’ve not seen her since she was four months old,” she said, adding that her son lives and works in Hong Kong.
“I can’t go over and see her because of Covid, they just won’t let us in.”
But Jacquie said her work with Macmillan helps her take her mind off things while making a positive impact on society.
Her work involves support and administration, helping with new registrations, new referrals and new projects set up to help people affected by cancer.
“People will come in either looking for support, or they need to talk to somebody, or they just want a quiet space while they wait to go over and have their chemotherapy or radio therapy,” said Jacquie.
During Covid, when she was not allowed in the building, Jacquie gave telephone support, speaking to clients throughout the week to see how they were doing.
In 2020 she also collected and delivered medication and shopping for people who were shielding or isolating.
Jacquie said she advises people with cancer to talk about it because it takes the power away from the subject and also reminds people who think they are healthy to check themselves.
“If one more woman does her check because of it, I’m happy,” she said.
Her advice is for people to ‘listen’ to their bodies as well.
“Listen to your instinct and if you’re at all scared or worried then insist on a face-to-face appointment,” she said.
There are some ‘scary’ statistics about people who have either been misdiagnosed or had treatment delayed because they could not get a face-to-face appointment, said Jacquie.
She has also heard ‘heartbreaking stories’ of how Covid delays have allowed treatable cancer to turn into terminal cancer.
“Do your checks and if you have any doubts insist on seeing somebody,” said Jacquie.
To donate to Jacquie’s fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com.