Cavendish Blog: Russ Hall “It’s not the 70s”

RUSS HALL has just joined the Fundraising Team at Cavendish Cancer Care. Russ’s experience of Cavendish started when he was a patient himself, some six years ago. Now he works to ensure that other people have access to the support he did.

Russ has written his story for our blog:

Russ photo‘It’s not the 70’s and this news is not the end’

One Friday afternoon in December my world fell apart and these words started putting it back together.

On Saturday 5th December my wife had finally had enough of my moaning about indigestion and back pain. Her exact words were ‘either shut up or go to the doctors…’ so six days later I found myself sat in a hospital waiting for the results of an ultrasound.

At the start of that week my doctor had prodded and probed and asked questions about diet, alcohol and family history before ringing the Hallamshire and booking the scan ‘as soon as possible’. Even the scan day itself didn’t ring any alarm bells until I sat opposite the radiographer who told me I had a significant mass where my right kidney should have been. I had cancer.

I also had two daughters aged 4 and 6, a wife and plans for the future that seemed to dissolve on that Friday. Everyone knows the stats: 11,000 people in Sheffield get a cancer diagnosis each year but I had been happy going along with the assumption that that was someone else and somewhere else.

The next week was a whirlwind of hospital meetings and treatment plans. They were going to operate and remove the mass in early January. There may be some follow up chemotherapy and the phrase ‘we’ll address that if we come to it’ occurred so many times I lost count. The medics and the medical care were superb but no one could sit down with me and help me with what was happening to my world. That was until I went to Cavendish Cancer Care.

On the Monday before Christmas I sat in a room with a wonderful counsellor from Cavendish who listened and listened some more before uttering those words ‘it’s not the 70’s and this news is not the end’. She wasn’t promising it would be all ok but she was offering a chance to take back some control, to receive some support as Russ; as a real person, as a dad, a husband, as someone who could plan things away from my diagnosis.

Cavendish offered me a professional programme of counselling to manage our situation, massage sessions to alleviate the terrible headaches I had developed and reiki for the nagging back pain. Weston Park fixed the tumour but Cavendish put me back together again.

6 years on I’m doing my bit for Cavendish and I am hoping you can help me out. The government funds 5% of what we do. Our doors would shut on the 17th of January every year if that was all we got. £26 pays for a single treatment for a cancer sufferer, their loved ones or a young person in our care. Could your organisation donate enough to fund 20 therapy sessions at Cavendish this year? Just £520 can start the journey from cancer to life for someone from our region.