A Broughshane man has shared his emotional and personal story in a new Macmillan Cancer Support film highlighting the importance and impact of having a Macmillan nurse when faced with a diagnosis of cancer.
Pat Hamill was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2015.
When he received his diagnosis, he said that he felt lonely and scared but his Macmillan nurse, Cherith Semple, who treated Pat at the Ulster Hospital in the South Eastern Trust, was an invaluable source of support and right there with him during
his cancer journey.
Pat is one of four people to feature in the film who share their highly personal account of how devastating a cancer diagnosis can be.
He said: “I was unprepared for the range and depth of problems that I faced following my cancer diagnosis but my Macmillan nurse was an invaluable source of support throughout. It’s not easy sharing your story so publicly but I felt that it was really important to do so.”
In the moving video, Pat reads aloud a thank-you letter to Cherith. He says: “When I met with the specialist he told me I had cancer. I felt I was in the loneliest, scariest place ever but you explained the journey ahead, how it was going to be tough but you convinced me that I would see it through. You became part of our family, you provided the answers before the questions were asked. You convinced me I really could beat cancer. From myself, my family, thank you.”
Following the support that Pat received from Macmillan, he has been inspired to fundraise and only last year donated £12,554 to the charity.
This is the fourth successive year that Pat has raised a significant amount of money, bringing the combined total of Pat’s donations in excess of £50,000.
Head of Services for Macmillan in Northern Ireland, Heather Monteverde understands all too well the impact that a Macmillan nurse can have on people affected by cancer as she was appointed as the first cancer nurse specialist in Northern Ireland in 1986 and influenced the development of similar roles across Northern Ireland.
Heather said: “Nursing is a profession that is there 24/7; through the bad times and the good times. It can be challenging, yes, but you have an opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives as our film shows so movingly.
“At Macmillan, we fund more than 100 Macmillan nurses across all of our health trusts. In 2016, we invested £7million in the cancer nurse workforce and our most recent Cancer Patient Experience Survey clearly showed that our funding is making
a difference. Macmillan nurses are the main point of contact for patients and their families, and they go above and beyond. Pat’s letter shines a bright light on the impact that Cherith’s support made at a challenging time in his life. We’re incredibly thankful to Pat for sharing his story so openly and eloquently, raising awareness of the important work that our Macmillan nurses do and also for his exceptional fundraising endeavours.”
To watch the film, visit the Macmillan in Northern Ireland Facebook page.