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Mum of two Julia Bell from Rickmansworth, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in July 2016, is gearing her fundraising efforts over the next month towards helping to support her daughter (Ciara Bell) in hosting a Charity Race Car fundraiser in aid of Michael Sobell Hospice (MSH), which has helped Julia and her whole family come to terms with her diagnosis.

“In 2016 I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and by September was in a wheelchair and sporting a rather attractive neck brace for fear of vertebrae damage and fractures to my femur,” explains Julia. “I couldn’t walk due to the pain but had accepted this was my new life. Or was it…? My first experience of Michael Sobell Hospice (MSH) was just before my hip replacement operation around mid-September. I attended the Day Centre to have my monthly infusion to strengthen my bones. It was a bit worrying at first as my Mum had died in a hospice and although I knew a lot about what else MSH could offer, I still felt a little nervous. The instant I met the nurses I was reassured and it became an appointment I would look forward to each month.

“I was then referred as a Day Centre patient, which meant I could attend every Wednesday for the day, receive therapies, access counselling, art therapy and above all, meet people with life limiting illnesses so we could talk openly if we wanted to.

“I would say the Hospice with the devoted team of nurses, therapists and volunteers got me through the most difficult time of my cancer, coming to terms with it and understanding you can live with it. The Hospice was and still is my safety net and despite being discharged from the day centre in December, I feel it is a positive step, as it was felt I was physically well enough and didn’t need to be there every week. I am still attending MSH for my three-monthly infusions, acupuncture and reflexology and I know they are always there if I need them. A hand to hold, to laugh or cry with. Life is good and I’m able to do the normal activities I used to. I thank the Hospice for the love and care they have given. Everyone there has helped to enrich my life.”

Talking about the special Race Car Charity fundraising event taking place on Thursday 22nd March at West Herts College, Hempstead Road, Watford, which her daughter Ciara is hosting as part of her college course, she added: “We just want to give something back and raise awareness for this wonderful Hospice.”

For more information about the work of Michael Sobell Hospice, visit www.michaelsobellhospice.org

Matron Carol stands with a woman in a blue sari in our gardens at Lansdowne House

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