Chris' Story

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After three abortive attempts, on my fourth try I finally made it through the doors of the Robert Horrell Cancer Wellbeing Centre. With some trepidation I approached the lady volunteer at the desk, not sure what to expect. At that time I was anxious, miserable, dejected and at my lowest ebb, my radiotherapy hadn't gone well, it had to be terminated before it had run its full course and I was experiencing a lot of pain.

However I was warmly welcomed with a cup of tea and asked If I would like to speak to someone. I opted to speak to a staff member and was introduced to a lady , who with help from other members managed to put my life back on track, and to whom I shall be eternally grateful.

Obviously she was very experienced in dealing with people like myself, we sat down with a box of tissues and I poured my heart out to her. She assured me that I wasn't the only one ever to feel this way, I'm not sure that at this time I entirely believed her but found over time and talking to people my experience wasn't unique.

She suggested various counselling sessions with different people, being able between them to identify my problems and suggesting different solutions, most of which worked out well and enabled me to move on.

I found myself revealing things I never thought I would tell anyone, such was the trust I had placed in these ladies. One thing that became obvious was that to help me out of the rut I was in was that I needed to be around people, I was encouraged to attend the Craft Cafe, my first introduction didn't go well, such was the state I was in I burst into tears and made a beeline for the door.

Over a period of time though, I found myself making friends and taking an interest in various hobbies, it was amazing to find how many men like myself had found it difficult to come through the doors for the first time.

To help me meet more people it was suggested that I might be interested in some voluntary work and as a result I ended up at Ferry Meadows two to three times a week. Unfortunately, this is now reduced to twice a month due to Covid19, but we are trying to get back to normal as we are allowed.

Currently I am now a Master Mason, Vice Chairman of The Boston and South Lincs Merchant Navy Association and a member of a Facebook group that keeps me in touch with both Merchant Navy and Royal Navy colleagues .

Occasionally I have a bit of a dip, but with the support of a loving family and the knowledge that I have the support of the Centre should I need it, my life has been turned around , I never ever dreamt that I would need support mentally, being a big tough ex Seaman or so I thought. It has made me realise that all of us need a bit of help occasionally, and with Centres such as this you should never be afraid to ask.

There's no accolade good enough to describe the Centre and its wonderful staff, Thank you all so very much.

Chris Wren