A former breast cancer patient has returned to Walsall Manor Hospital to make a generous donation to thank staff who supported her.
Irene Dondertman and her daughter Emily Guest donated £250 to Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Breast Care Unit.
While studying at University of Sheffield, Emily started an online art business on Instagram so that she could earn some extra cash. This prompted her to draw a Christmas card that she could sell to raise funds to raise awareness of what her mum has been through.
She said: “It was a very emotional time for me. When I completed my PhD, I moved to Cambridgeshire where I started a new job and a few months later I heard about my mum’s cancer diagnosis. Not being near her was stressful, but luckily for me, my boss was really supportive and allowed me to work flexibly so I could be with her.
“I feel privileged and proud to have been able to raise this money for the unit after what it has done for my mum and I.”
Last May, Irene attended her three yearly mammogram as normal. Three days later, she received a phone call asking her to come into hospital. After testing, it was shown that she had stage three invasive lobular breast cancer.
The 66-year-old, from Walsall said: “I was really shocked as I had no lumps or symptoms. That is when I found out that this type of cancer doesn’t always form a lump and it spreads almost like roots of a tree.
“Three weeks later, I had my operation. It was all very quick. I also had my cells sent to California to create a personalised treatment for me.”
She added: “Throughout this whole process, all the staff have been so lovely, supportive and helpful. They are truly beautiful people.
“I urge the public to please attend all their screening appointments and show up. It can save your life. If you are unable to please let staff know as it can save someone else’s life.”
Jayne Kanwar (Macmillan Advanced Nurse Practitioner – Breast Care), Trish Griffiths (Breast Cancer Support Nurse) and Margaret Casey (Clinical Nurse Specialist – Breast Care) all attended the cheque handover.
They said: “We can’t believe all the effort that that has gone into raising this money; Emily is incredibly talented.
“It makes such a big difference as we do not receive extra funding and donations like this allow us to give all ladies a free bra to use whether that is a mastectomy bra, first fit or reconstruction.”
“Irene has gone through so much and we are so proud of how strong she has been throughout her journey. We really appreciate her and Emily coming down to give this to us.”
Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager, added: “We know the big impact that donations make on our patients’ experience, so a huge thank you to Irene and Emily and all those that contributed. Your support is life changing.”