Despina, a breast cancer survivor, is here to tell us about a great organisation - Something to look forward to - and how they helped her whole family.
Something to Look Forward To
People don’t realise that having cancer costs money. For me, we went away as a family every time I felt well enough, grabbing every moment we could. But it all adds up.
So when I heard about ‘Something to Look Forward To’ from a secret Facebook group I belonged to – the Younger Breast Cancer Network – it sounded perfect.
Not only did ‘Something to Look Forward To’ help our family by giving us a free eight course meal at James Cochran EC3, a top London restaurant, but we also went away for an amazing weekend.
The Eight Course Meal
The first thing I was gifted to look forward to was by chance. They had a last minute cancellation at James Cochran EC3 restaurant in London: an eight course meal for the whole family! My husband and I were at first a bit worried about taking the two children to a place like that – but we did and it was so lovely and special. It is good that they do things that are family orientated.
The Excitement of our Mini-Break
The lead up to our weekend trip was full of excitement for the whole family. As it was an unexpected little trip, it really gave us something to look forward to – with no planning and no admin!
I built up the excitement for the children too – we had this to come.
Our Special Weekend
We went to Chesford Grange Q Hotel. They were just so nice, even offering us a two night stay when it was only supposed to be for the one night.
It was just two days before Easter, and so when we entered the room there was prosecco waiting for us and chocolate Easter eggs for the children. They’d even given us one of the suite rooms, which I just never expected. The kids were so excited because it had come from someone else and they knew it wasn’t us.
To relax in the evening, we booked a table in the restaurant and they wouldn’t let us pay for that either! We felt really spoilt!
For the following day we were given tickets for Warwick Castle and then in the evening we went to the nearest village for an adventure and a meal out. And on the final day there was an Easter egg hunt for all the children.
A Good Milestone
It was a really special few days and perfect for those months after treatment when you’re so tired from it all. It’s such a weird period - I was still wearing my chemo cap, but not receiving treatment. So the trip marked the end of the horribleness. It was like closing the door. The opportunity for all of us to be together without worrying about anything gave me the opportunity to reflect – the treatment was over and we could move on.
Cancer takes its toll on the whole family. My kids were five and nine and they knew exactly what was going on. At one point they thought the chemo would go on forever. I remember my son struggled after each session of chemo. He’d ask: ‘Do you have to do this again, Mummy?’
So it was good as a milestone for the children, a way to show them that the treatment had come to an end.
How to Register
A lot of these things are like competitions and so I thought I wouldn’t get anything. Not that anyone has to give me anything for free, but the experience made such a difference to the whole family. Something To Look Forward To seem to be able to do something for everyone and there’s no feeling that it’s a competition.
It was really easy to register. I went on their Facebook page and then went on their website. I thought, let me just apply and clicked the button next to the weekend. I didn’t believe it was going to work.
Next step was to get a letter from my cancer nurse, with a stamp or a signature to confirm my diagnosis. I sent it off to Fiona who runs the organisation and from there it was just really quick. The following day they called. ‘Oh by the way,’ they said. ‘We’re giving you the hotel trip.’
One of the issues for me was that I was always very unwell and every time I thought to go away for the trip, it never worked out. But they were really flexible and that’s why I took it at the end of treatment. You never know how you’re going to feel.
The charity is a great idea and a way for businesses to support cancer survivors– you can see exactly where your support goes.
Something To Look Forward To (STLFT) are a fabulous organisation supporting people with any cancer diagnosis in the UK up to one year post last treatment as well as their families and carers. They provide donated experiences including restaurant meals, hotel stays, spa breaks, tickets to attractions and cottage breaks. STLFT can also provide tangible gifts including clothes, jewellery, beauty bundles and artwork.