Connection the key to Steve’s recovery

 

A conversation with a stranger at Fiona Stanley Hospital two years ago marked a turning point in Steve Toon's cancer treatment.

That stranger, for whom Steve says he is forever grateful, was a Cancer Council volunteer.

"I started chatting with a Cancer Council volunteer while waiting for one of my last radiotherapy treatments," Steve said.

"For me that conversation really opened so many doors in terms of making me aware of Cancer Council support services and it really brightened my life at a tough time." 

 

Steve with our hospital information hub volunteer, Mercy

 

Steve was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 but had to wait two years for treatment, which he said was heartbreaking at the time. He was then forced into early retirement in order to complete radiotherapy.

"Even though I was continually told ‘you've got a good cancer' I struggled through the treatment, particularly with feelings of isolation," he said.

"From my experience, you can't underestimate the emotional impact of cancer and this is where the Cancer Council services are so beneficial."

Steve said talking to people who understand, like our cancer nurses via our Cancer Council 13 11 20 phone line, can make a big difference in a person's experience of cancer.

"I found it incredibly helpful to talk honestly and openly with Cancer Council staff who were outside my network of family and friends and understanding of what I was going through."

After connecting with us, Steve enrolled in our 12-week Life Now exercise program.

He said the exercise group became a good support network as all of the participants were dealing with similar issues, despite the fact they were affected by different cancers.

Two years after completing the program he continues to meet with other members of the group each month for lunch.

"Initially we'd catch up for a coffee together after our class, but when the classes ended we realised we were a good support network for each other," he said.

Steve's also completed our Healthy Living after Cancer course which he said was a wonderful program based around healthy lifestyle advice.

"I found it so easy to talk to my Cancer Council nurse and coach during our regular phone calls," he said.

"She was a great listener and gave me guidelines that helped me to create healthier new habits I could put into action after completing my cancer treatment."

Since completing the course, Steve has joined a health club and aims to continue exercising regularly. He is also planning to complete our yoga course, something he never would have previously considered.

"Up until I connected with Cancer Council I felt very much on my own and also felt like I was bombarded by people saying ‘you'll be alright'," he explained.

"I'm glowing with pride with what you guys do.

"I feel healthier than ever after finishing treatment and I feel like I'm connected to a good support network because the reality for me is, I still have cancer.

"On reflection, Cancer Council was the best thing that's happened to me since sliced bread. I just wished I had found it sooner!"

 

This story was featured in our 2016 - 2017 Annual Review. To read more about our achievements over the past year and the inspiring people that have helped us along the way check out Annual Review here.


Found in:  News - 2017  | View all news