Survivor helps others get on track
Breast cancer survivor Hilary Perry is helping those recently diagnosed with the disease to regain some normality in their lives.
The Eden Terrace resident is a co-ordinator with the YWCA-run Encore programme, which promotes gentle exercise for women being treated for breast cancer.
Encore focuses on upper body exercise in and out of the swimming pool, with many patients’ movement compromised after surgery.
It’s just one of many initiatives that become more visible during October, which is Breast Cancer Action Month.
Hilary says it’s not just about getting patients back on track physically.
“The concept of getting these women together is a very good idea.
“Friendships are made. It gives you someone to talk to about it.”
Encore didn’t exist when Hilary was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.
But she says it wasn’t a difficult decision to get involved after finding out about the programme last year.
“I thought it would be a good thing to be involved with as it’s something I could do to help.
“There’s quite a lot of help immediately at the time of diagnosis, but well down the track there’s not so much.”
While it’s been almost 10 years since her diagnosis, Hilary says the memories are still fresh in her mind.
“I had to wait a couple of months for radiotherapy,” says Hilary.
“The waiting itself wasn’t easy and the process itself was very difficult.”
Despite the shock of being told she had the disease, Hilary says having regular mammograms saved her life.
Encore national manager Marlene Sorby says the programme has been running for more than 30 years overseas and four years in New Zealand.
time about 800 women have had the benefit of undertaking the eight-week course.
“ There’s no pressure to do anything other than what they’re doing,” she says.
“They’ve all been on the same journey and understand where each other are coming from.”
For more information on the Encore programme, which starts in St John this Friday and runs to December 4, call 0800-363-673 or visit www.akywca.co.nz.
For more information on Breast Cancer Action Month and the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, visit www. nzbcf.org.nz.
Survivor: Former breast cancer patient Hilary Perry now acts as a coordinator for the YWCA-run Encore programme, which promotes gentle exercise among current breast cancer patients.