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The act of selfless giving means so much more than receiving for Mater breast cancer patient and Parkinson resident Narelle Roberts.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year, Narelle has been coming to Mater Cancer Care Centre (MCCC) at South Brisbane for treatment armed with special gift bags; bringing a smile, and often tears, to other patients going through a similar journey.
“One day, the lady beside me having treatment was very distressed and wasn’t coping well. She was also having scalp cooling treatment but hadn’t brought the additional items required. I thought I would love to bless her in some way,” she said.
“When I had surgery I was so touched to come back to my room and find that Mater Chicks in Pink had left me a care package.
“It was very special to think that I was being thought of, so I know what a difference a gesture like this makes to other women going through breast cancer,” she said.
Narelle regularly goes shopping for practical items for cancer patients and those undergoing scalp cooling treatment, which helps to reduce the risk of patients losing their hair as a result of chemotherapy.
The gifts for these patients include the necessities for the treatment—a spray water bottle, a head band, a comb and hair conditioner.
However, Narelle goes above and beyond and includes beauty products, chocolates, handmade gifts and other items to show patients that “they are loved and not alone.”
“I gave the first gift bag to one of the nurses to give to the patient I wanted to encourage. She was so overwhelmed she cried,” Narelle said.
Narelle has given many beautiful gifts, with each one being an expression of love, hope and encouragement that touches the patient’s heart.
Narelle was diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year after a routine mammogram picked up four tumours in one of her breasts.
“The time from when I was advised of the diagnosis to having surgery was very quick. For so many it can be a very uncertain and daunting time,” she said.
Approximately a week later she had breast conserving surgery at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane and the cancerous tumours were removed.
Narelle started chemotherapy and was also the first patient to undergo scalp cooling treatment at MCCC, with the hope of retaining her hair.
“I had the treatment once a week for 12 weeks and it has worked wonderfully for me.
“I’m a person who likes normality, so maintaining my hair helped me to live my life without others even realizing I was going through treatment,” she said.
While Narelle has finished chemotherapy she still receives treatment at Mater and will do so until May next year.
As she has done for the past six months, Narelle has committed to bring with her many more gift bags to brighten the day of Mater patients.
“Mater gives exceptional care. Its foundation is based on Christ’s love and I see that my giving is an extension of that,” Narelle said.
“Each patient is precious and the support and encouragement of others as they go through treatment means so very much to them.”
You can support breast cancer patients like Narelle and others treated at Mater Cancer Care Centre by donating to Mater Chicks in Pink www.materchicksinpink.org.au