Understanding is everything

Pinc & Steel gives hope, strength and courage to many cancer patients throughout the Bay of Plenty.

Therapist and physiotherapist Cath McFadyen says it's about minimising the side effects from cancer and the associated treatments.

“We empower clients. They are often told what they can't do, or shouldn't do. We ask them what they want to do and help them get there.”

For two Tauranga women, the programme was invaluable on their journeys to health.

Jenny Pountney says Pinc & Steel was the only support she found in terms of physical help. “Cath's knowledge was very reassuring, and particularly important in helping me deal with my scars, and the physical side of the operation.”

Jenny had to weather not only a mastectomy, but a failed reconstruction which, she says, is fairly common. Jenny has the all clear, but says some of the side effects of chemotherapy have an undesired longevity, or permanence.

She says Pinc & Steel's services are vital when eight women a day are diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand. “I was told I was a survivor. I didn't want to survive, but Cath helped me do more than that. That was the biggest benefit for me.”

Cath says Pinc & Steel staff are a sounding board, coach, friend, counsellor, motivator, and cheerleader. “Often, we're on the scene longer than most surgeons, nurses, radiologists, or oncologists, and help clients regain the sense of control they've lost to outside forces.”

Karen Cleasby agrees. “Cath and her team made me feel comfortable. I'd been a businessperson my whole life, and going through the journey I went through, I lost who I was and my ability of what I could be. Pinc & Steel gave me an environment where I felt safe.

“Everyone's journey is different, but when you're diagnosed, you enter a numb world. At Pinc & Steel, you meet people who understand that.”

Karen says friends and family get it, but they don't get it. “They're dealing with their own emotions.”

Pinc & Steel Cancer Rehabilitation Trust services aren't funded. The next big fundraising event is Run for Life, on Sunday, April 2, with a 5km walk/run, 10km run, and 10km team option.

Karen took part in Pinc & Steel's Move Over Cancer Starjump Challenge in November. When asked if she's training for the Run for Life, she laughs. “I'm a bit of a naughty one, even though I used to be a fitness guru.” Karen used to own and manage a gym. “I like to turn up and be part of it; but it's not about winning for me, it's about doing. When I first moved down I did the Tauranga marathon, and I walked it. To me, it was about achieving it.”

For more information, visit: www.pincandsteel.com and: www.runforlife.co.nz

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