Letter from a Survivor

A Letter from a Survive and Thrive Participant

“Thank you so much to you, Yvonne and Marie for facilitating this programme. I was delighted to hear that I could attend this time around as I had wanted to do it in the past but the timings never suited my schedule. I had heard of the Marie Keating Foundation in the past, pre-cancer, only to brush it away. It is during lockdown when I joined your online webinars that I really started to understand the magnitude of the information and services you provide.

I loved that the programme took place online, in the comfort and safety of my home. I wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise. I also found it easier to take notes.The team managed the technology very well and we never really had any issues.

I wanted to learn how to manage pain, and most of all how to deal with the fear of recurrence. We were provided with such a fantastic toolbox that I now feel confident to tackle everything I am and will be facing in the future as a cancer survivor. It will take effort and practice, but I know I will get there.

This programme has been all about connections between participants. It was so comforting having a group of women who understood exactly what I went and am still going through. For many of us, our cancer journey and our trauma are still raw. With this group, we had a safe place to share our story, receive wonderful advice, but most of all, being listened to and understood. And thanks to Yvonne’s suggestion, we created a WhatsApp group, which has provided support and comfort outside of the programme.

I felt very relaxed during the sessions, as I knew that this was a safe place to talk freely, and that other people would understand what I did and still am going through. I felt very much part of the group. Having Yvonne and Marie sharing their experiences and their action plans with us each week made me feel like we were all connected, not just the survivors.

One of the many things I dreaded and enjoyed at the same time was the action plan for the following week. Having to commit to something for the week knowing you have a busy week in perspective was challenging. That said, that commitment motivated me and gave me the push I needed to accomplish small and bigger things I had been putting off. And as the programme finished and we all shared our action plan for the next 3 to 6 months, I am confident that I will push myself to accomplish my goal.

There are too many highs to remember and to share. I fell a buzz during each session which then helped me face the rest of the week. I am deeply grateful for the team, for their kindness, their warmth and their understanding. I am also grateful to have connected with all the ladies in the group, and to have created the WhatsApp so we can keep supporting each other now that the programme is over. I found the programme very comprehensive, dealing with so many issues that we encounter as cancer survivors. The downside of this is that sometimes it could feel a little rushed or that we were only scratching the surface, but we have the book to go back to in more depth.

Since my cancer diagnosis last year, all I’ve wanted to do is survive and see my little girl grow up. Thanks to this programme, I feel empowered and I know that I have the capacity to thrive. I still have a long way to go to get to know and accept the post-cancer me, the new me. This programme has been so therapeutic and has given me the tools to manage obstacles.

If possible and if there is time, I would suggest that during the zero session, all participants introduce themselves and share their stories instead of week one. I really believe that this is why we all connected so quickly. Feeling that connection with other people who have been and are going through the same thing as you.

I would highly recommend this course to anyone. Not only to learn coping mechanisms but also to realise that it is really possible to survive and thrive after a cancer diagnosis. Thank you for giving this gift to me.

Once again I would like to thank you, at the amazing team at the Marie Keating Foundation for this wonderful programme, and bearing with us. I feel stronger because of other women’s stories, and if I can help someone by returning the favour, I will be honoured.”