Here is the story of former patient Rhona Weir. Daughter, Mother, Wife, Hairdresser and now proud member of Team Beatson. Rhona reflects on going through her cancer diagnosis and how she ended up joining Beatson Cancer Charity's wellbeing team as a hairdresser.
When I was 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found a lump on holiday, so went to see my doctor when I got home. I had the lump removed but they found precancerous cells so removed the whole breast. My mum had previously been treated for breast cancer, so that’s why I was seen so quickly.
For the following weeks and months, I went for regular check ups and everything was fine, up until my fourth yearly check up when something was found in my other breast.
I went for a biopsy and was told that this time it was a bit nastier and they would need to remove the whole breast straight away. I had a grade three tumour, which then for me meant six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy as a day patient at The Beatson.
It was when I went to get my wig that I knew I wanted to work here. I went to get my wig from an external hairdresser and it was horrendous. There wasn’t that understanding of how difficult this could be for someone. You’re not being vain, but your whole appearance changes when you lose your hair and I completely felt that.
It was a year out of my life and I just needed to switch off. I would go for my treatment, come home and forget about it, then I’d have to go again. But I got through it.
I began volunteering at Beatson Cancer Charity on a Monday and when I saw a job become available, I applied for it. I work three days in the Wellbeing Centre as a hairdresser and wig consultant. The way we supply wigs here and the support we offer the patients is a completely different experience to what I had. They will be treated professionally and in a nice environment and don’t have to worry about going to a salon. I’m glad we can offer that service here.
If it wasn’t for people donating to Beatson Cancer Charity, we wouldn’t be able to help their loved ones through our services. We try to offer that little bit of normality during what can be a very difficult time.
One thing I love about the Wellbeing Centre is that we are there for the whole family, as well as the patient and when families go home at night, they know their loved one is being looked after. These things can make a world of difference.
Without donations, we wouldn’t have this very special and unique place. Patients have told me that they feel safe here and I want to make sure we’re here for them for many more years to come.
Please donate today to support even more patients and their families facing cancer.
If you are interested in volunteering or fundraising with the Beatson Cancer Charity then you can get involved here.