Sarah O’Neill, Sebbie and Fleur Jenner

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I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2020. My diagnosis impacted on the family from the outset. I had my first surgery during Christmas week and the second surgery in mid-January, as the third lockdown hit.

In normal times there would be no disruption to the children’s routine while I was undergoing treatment. However, the third lockdown meant that recovery from surgery and undergoing radiotherapy was taking place in between home-schooling.  During this difficult time, I identified that I needed support. I had been told about ARC services when I received my diagnosis, so in January this year I got in touch to see what supports I could avail of.

Everything was online due to lockdown and I decided to sign up for the ‘Stress Management’ course. It was extremely helpful and provided practical solutions around sleep, recovery post-treatment and so much more. The group was very open, sharing their experiences about managing a cancer diagnosis.

As I found the ‘Stress Management’ course very helpful, I engaged again with ARC to attend a talk on ‘Parenting Through Cancer’. Given the additional pressures of my treatment through lockdown I reached out to ARC following the parenting session. I felt that my younger children Sebbie (10) and Fleur (4) would benefit from their own support to understand my illness and recovery and help manage their fears around this.

Sebbie has recently finished Art therapy, and Fleur is currently attending Play Therapy. Sebbie loved his Art therapy. He said that he felt listened to and calm after the sessions. He recognised that his artwork provided an outlet for him to express his emotions or fears that he might have. Fleur is enjoying the play therapy and loves the one-to-one contact with the therapist.

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I would have felt so alone without the supports of ARC. I wouldn’t have known where to turn for help. I received the cancer diagnosis, but it impacted my whole family, so I feel that we are all on the journey of recovery together. The staff and volunteers are so experienced, and I can’t thank them enough for all their kindness and understanding. It is great comfort to know they are there to talk to. The services that ARC provide are vital support to those undergoing cancer treatment and for their loved ones who are also impacted.