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Albion in the Community supports Cirene through her cancer journey

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When Cirene Chagas was first diagnosed with breast cancer, her world turned upside down. Thankfully, Albion in the Community’s Brighter Outlook sessions were there to help, both physically and emotionally.

 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, without a shadow of a doubt. But imagine enduring the worst year in living memory and also finding out that you have cancer.

Over 30,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every month. In November 2020, Brighton-based Cirene Chagas was one of those people.

“I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, and I started my treatment straight away because, unfortunately, my cancer was quite advanced,” the 55-year-old shared. “I started chemotherapy a month later and I was supposed to have six cycles of treatment. But my body wasn’t coping, so I only had four cycles.”

During her recovery, Cirene visited a local breast clinic to see a physiotherapist and asked where she could receive some physical therapy. It was here that she was first introduced to Albion in the Community’s (AITC) Brighter Outlook programme. She completed a form and AITC’s health team were swift to contact her.

“Ros Addison (AITC’s Physical Activity Coach) left a message on my phone saying she would like to talk to me. I met her in a café where I live and it was a rainy day, I remember it like it was yesterday,” Cirene recalled.

“She explained that Brighter Outlook was a cost-free programme that helped people with cancer, and she asked me how my treatment was going. I got emotional and started crying because I was thinking, ‘it’s a rainy day and there’s a human being sat in front of me asking about my treatment and caring about me’.”

The interaction between an AITC coach and Cirene is regarded as a very special day in the participant’s life.

Following this meeting, she was offered a ten-week block of exercise sessions. Two and a half months later, Cirene now feels far stronger, significantly happier and is extremely appreciative of the charity’s work.

“Thank you very much to AITC, you are doing a brilliant job and please don’t stop doing that because it helps patients with cancer a lot.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Brighter Outlook, you can send the health team an email on brighteroutlook@gmail.com or visit our website albioninthecommunity.org.uk/brighteroutlook.

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