Your support in actionJoanne's story

Back to nursing after a fight with cancer

Joanne's story

I was having a meltdown and couldn’t see how to cope. That’s when I was put in touch with Cavell.

Despite aggressive breast cancer, Joanne couldn't wait to return to work after support from Cavell Nurses’ Trust moved her from “desperation to elation”.

Joanne, a 52-year-old health visitor, said the idea of becoming a nurse came to her early in her life: 

“It sounds silly but I wanted to be a nurse since reading 'Nancy the Nurse' in a comic called Twinkle. Over the years I’ve met so many patients and I get such a lot of satisfaction from seeing people’s lives transformed by the great care we can give."

It's been a tough time recently for Joanne and her family and she's still undergoing chemotherapy following a shocking diagnosis, surgery and rounds of radiotherapy.

“I’m so lucky to have the support of my son Sam and daughter Megan. I remember struggling down the stairs after my first round of chemotherapy, I barely made it down. But Megan was there to care for me.” said Joanne.

But Joanne has had more to worry about than recovering from surgery and the impact of cancer on her children; she has also struggled to make ends meet.

“I was having a meltdown. I couldn’t see how to cope. That’s when I was put in touch with Cavell Nurses’ Trust."

Cavell Nurses' Trust was able to step in and quickly get Joanne back on her feet again with financial help to cover the cost of bills that were mounting up as she was off work receiving treatment.

“The team at Cavell really listened to me and it was like going from desperation to elation. It sounds silly but I remember I punched the air!” said Joanne.

And now, just a year after surgery, Joanne has started working as a health visitor again doing what she does best, caring for people in the community. She's delighted to be back health visiting.

But does she think being a health visitor has helped her cope with her cancer?

“The treatment is incredibly hard. I am sore from surgery. I get nauseous, I’ve been on steroids which keep me awake, I was battered. The veins in my arm couldn’t cope. Clumps of hair came out in the shower and at one point I was injecting my stomach 49 times. But I think it’s the sort of person I am, and my wonderful friends and family, that helps me cope. And it’s the sort of person I am that makes me a nurse. Not the other way around."

Joanne has truly battled with her cancer and Cavell Nurses' Trust is proud to have helped in her recovery, relieving some of her financial stress.

“If a nurse, midwife or HCA needs help, even if they’re retired or changed profession, please get in touch with Cavell Nurses’ Trust. Please be brave.” said Joanne.

You can make a real difference to the lives of nurses like Joanne, and other nursing professionals working in the UK. Find out how you can Get Involved.

Click here to Get Involved

Help others like Joanne.

Donate and help