Whittington Macmillan worker is beating cancer – at 10,000 feet
- Credit: Archant
If you glanced upwards over Reading on Sunday, you might have spotted brave Whittington worker Tracey Palmer plummeting through the clouds.
Tracey took on the skydive to raise cash for some of the cancer patients she works with at the Archway hospital.
As Macmillan information and support manager at the Archway hospital, she provides information on different types of cancer, dealing with the physical and emotional side-effects of a diagnosis, along with diet and exercise advice, and how to find local support.
She’s been there for two years, having previously worked in cancer services at the Royal Free in Hampstead for five.
“I didn’t have much insight into cancer before,” she admitted.
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“All the knowledge I have has come from what people have told me about their experiences.
“The thing with cancer is it still has a bit of a stigma, even though it’s seen as a long-term condition because treatment is so good and there are lots of people now living with cancer.
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“It’s not true for everyone but survival rates have improved tremendously – yet people still, from what they have told me, struggle with getting that diagnosis. It’s a big hit, and it really knocks them.”
She continued: “We don’t reassure, but we do reassure them that they have got support and we find them the help we need.
“We do have support in the hospital if we need it emotionally, but it’s a very rewarding job actually because you can help people have a bit of a better experience, and make a difference with that.”
Tracey did the skydive with fellow Whittington worker Angel Bellot to raise cash for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Macmillan volunteer Eve Harris – who couldn’t do the skydive herself for medical reasons – asked them to complete the jump in memory of her friend Michael Ingall, who died of pancreatic cancer on July 4.
“I got a bit wobbly when I was sitting on the edge of the plane by the open door, and I thought ‘oh dear,’ but it was too late then because you just fall off,” she said.
“You free-fall for about 35 seconds, which is really nice. It’s very quiet – then we had to navigate through the clouds, but it was all very fast. You feel like you need to do it again to take note.”