Thelma Cann from Roche is a very determined woman. Thelma had a cancer removed and now regularly receives specialist out-patient treatment at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell and she wants everyone to know about it. As part of her campaign she has run a coffee morning to help pay for new equipment in the lymphoedema department where she is cared for. 

Thelma raised £515 at a special Lymphoedema coffee morning in St Stephen where she grew up. She met all the expenses so as not to use up any of the money raised for the charity and cajoled friends and family in to donating 41 raffle prizes.  She did it because she says, she’s determined to make people understand how important lymphoedema treatment is;

“Lymphoedema is not easy to cope with. It’s a chronic, long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body but for me I have it in both breasts and in my arm. There’s lots of symptoms like an aching, heavy feeling in the affected areas and it can be hard to move the limb.  I found I couldn’t lift my arm. So I’ve been coming to the hospice as an outpatient since 2006 for special treatment and I can’t thank Helen, my present Lymphoedema Nurse, enough.”

“I have treatment when I need it and Helen is always on the end of the phone if I’m concerned or worried about anything. So I want people to understand this condition. It’s bad enough having cancer, but this has a long term effect and if I can help more people make sense of this and understand the treatment and its importance, then I’ll be doing my bit to help other sufferers now and in the future, around Cornwall.”

“The coffee morning was hard work but worth every moment and I must thank all those who attended, all those who helped me, including my Mother, Doreen Bilkey and my sister, Christine Hore, Shiovan Hunter, Ann Still, Heather Trevenna, Jean Yoe, Shirley Coad, Marion Gribble, Marion Pellow, Christine Crews and all other friends and family who provided cakes for the cake stall and raffle prizes. They all helped with the dishes too and that was quite a job!”

Thelma presented the proceeds of the coffee morning to the Cornwall Hospice Care lymphoedema team during a special visit. The £515 was accepted by her nurse, Helen Treleaven, who says the money will be used for new and much needed equipment;

“Thelma is an extraordinary lady and we are so grateful to her for arranging the lymphoedema coffee morning. We’re going to put the money towards two moisture meters, one for Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and one for St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle.  These machines measure how much water is in the breast particularly, as opposed to how much lymphoedema. It helps us pinpoint what’s happening and measure how the treatment is working. As the amounts of lymphoedema lessen it’s a great incentive to patients who can see the treatment is having an effect. Unfortunately there’s no cure for lymphoedema, but it can be treated successfully, so this will help enormously.”

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Thelma, not only for raising all this money, but for helping us to explain more to people about lymphoedema and the work we do here. Terri and I each help around 200 patients a year, tailoring their treatment individually around their clinical needs. Some we see regularly, others on a longer term basis. Last year this resulted in more than 2,000 lymphoedema appointments at our two hospices.”

Picture shows, left to right, Thelma, Helen, Terri and Physiotherapist, Michelle.