Thom on getting support

Emergency surgery for colon cancer, followed by chemotherapy, left 27-year-old Thom feeling ‘like a complete zombie’. 

But he’ll never forget the support he got at Macmillan’s Mustard Tree Centre, directly above his chemo ward.

Thom's story

At the Mustard Tree Centre, which is at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where I was based, you kind of get this understanding from the Macmillan people there.

It is just the perfect environment. It's non-hospital, it’s full of lovely people. You can just go and sit and mind your own business and read the paper. 

Denise, my benefits adviser, sorted out my finances and what I was entitled to in terms of benefits, and also how the Macmillan funding schemes work. Then I was also introduced to Roger who does the reflexology and massage, and Pat was always the one that gives you a nice cuddle and makes you a cup of tea.

You go through an experience like this and you meet people that touch your heart and that give something to you. People like Denise, Pat and Roger, who do it for the love of it as well, and you can tell.

The hospital is good at what it does and the doctors and nurses I met were brilliant. But there is a certain detachment to their role. They are doing their job. For me, Macmillan provided another equally important job just by dealing with me on a personal level and giving me the emotional support to get through.

The Mustard Tree also provided activities and treatments free of charge. I had several reflexology sessions with Roger, who was incredible. It was so good to have a chance to visit the hospital for something positive, not just another appointment or for more treatment. The routine was the same – I parked in the same place, I walked down the same road – but it was for something enjoyable.

Before this I knew hardly anything about Macmillan at all and so was so surprised by the all-round support they can give to people affected by cancer.

Watch: all about Thom's experiences

Watch: all about Thom's experiences