Vital help, just at the right time
Kath had worked for more than 20 years as a mental health nurse when a diagnosis of breast cancer risked sending her life spiraling out of control. Not only was she faced with fears for her health, but the illness also caused financial difficulties.
Forty-four-year-old Kath, divorced and mum to three children then aged 19, 16 and 11, says the support she received from Cavell Nurses’ Trust made all the difference.
After taking her A-levels, Kath decided to train as a mental health nurse and works as a triage and assessment worker for a Mental Health Team where she assesses new referrals to the service.
Diagnosed in November 2015, Kath underwent surgery just two weeks later, followed by a rigorous regime of radiotherapy. Stopping work for treatment put her finances under real pressure.
“I was off work for six months so was only getting my basic salary - I wasn’t getting the travel allowance I was used to. It was the winter months and I was at home and feeling unwell, so my heating was on more. I then needed to travel a 30 mile round trip every day for three weeks for my radiotherapy treatment. There were lots of little bits that all added up and they just ate a big hole in my money."
“And not only that, the treatment was scary as well, it was a difficult time. I had amazing support from everyone around me but all the time I was putting on a brave face as a mum.”
Kath was referred to Cavell Nurses’ Trust and we were able to quickly come to her aid.
“It didn’t sit comfortably with me to be asking for financial help but I talked to someone about it and they said to let someone else make the decision of whether you are entitled to some support."
“That grant from Cavell just helped us – it was a Godsend. The first thing I did was treat the children to a takeaway because treats had gone out of the window. Then I was able to reimburse some of the Christmas savings I had used, pay off some overdraft and buy myself some new clothes as I had put weight on due to some of the cancer drugs I was taking."
Kath is keen that other nurses in her situation ask for help. "I had not previously even heard of Cavell Nurses' Trust but it is there for a reason. So I would say, if you think you need their help, then just ask them.”
Kath is now back at work and supporting others.
“I love people and I very much enjoy trying to understand people and I like the thought that in my job I am helping someone else.”
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