Philomena on reaching out

Philomena on a walk with her dog and granddaughter, Megan.
Philomena on a walk with her dog and granddaughter, Megan.

When Philomena was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 her family and friends rallied to her support. Philomena talks about why this is so important you community friends and family show this love and support while you are going through a difficult time. 

Philomena's story

I have a very active dog that needs walking twice a day, and I just wasn’t physically fit to do that. So one of my sisters took responsibility for walking Bonny every day. Others did shopping for me. My granddaughter Megan used to come at the weekends and do the washing and help tidy up the house. She would drive me places too as I don’t drive and there was loads of things I needed to do.

Cancer’s touched nearly every family in Britain and we do say things like let me know if you need me to do anything but it really, do we really mean it?

To me, that’s showing love and neighbourliness and community spirit, and I would like to see more of that encouraged. I had that hands-on support from family and friends and I certainly would be more encouraged to do that for other people now.

People shouldn’t have to ask for help. We should be more community aware, more loving towards people, coming along and saying, ‘Look, I’ll take the kids for an hour and you put your feet up and read your magazine, or I’ll do the washing for you.’

It takes a great worry and stress off you to be able to say, ‘Well, that job’s been taken care of.’

I’ve quite a large front garden and the gardener lives quite a distance away – but the fact that family and friends would come round for a cup of tea and go out and tear into it and in no time at all it was done for you so it. That was great.

It’s just wee small, thoughtful things. It’s not big things that cost lots of money.

It’s a matter really of being there for your neighbour, being there for your family and your friends. Because, you never know, you could turn a corner and be facing the same thing. 

Watch: Philomena and her granddaughter Meghan's story

Watch: Philomena and her granddaughter Meghan's story