Breast cancer patients make a splash thanks to free swim sessions

The Breast Centre at University Hospital Llandough will soon be offering swim and exercise sessions free of charge for those who have been through surgery for breast cancer at Splash Central, Cardiff.

Victoria Collins, Senior Physiotherapist had the idea to provide a private swim session for patients who had had a mastectomy, giving them the confidence to get back in the water, without having to do this in a public area.

Victoria approached Sue Dickson-Davies, Senior Fundraiser at The Breast Centre Appeal to see if she knew how to make this happen.  Sue kindly got in touch with an acquaintance she knew at Splash Central Cardiff and as they say the rest is history.

Natalie O’Shea owner of Splash Central said: “September was a very emotional month, losing a close friend and absolute legend in the swimming industry to the horrible disease that is Cancer. I felt overwhelmingly honoured to have been approached by The Breast Centre to offer regular swim and exercise sessions to women who have undergone breast surgery.

“At Splash Central we will be running regular Friday swim sessions and aqua aerobics from Friday 8th November between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. These sessions are completely free of charge and are open to women who are undergoing or have come to the end of their treatment, to start and build their confidence in the water whilst increasing their heart rate!

“We’re proud to announce a launch event which will be held on Friday 25th October from 12pm – 3pm for everyone to come and see the facility, meet The Breast Centre team and also meet with Jane from Amoena, who will be bringing with her an array of specialised mastectomy swimwear.

“The Vale Cake Boutique have kindly offered to make some cupcakes for us for the launch that they will be donating and all proceeds from sales will go to The Breast Centre Appeal.”

Victoria Collins, Senior Physiotherapist at The Breast Centre said: “I’m totally buzzing since meeting with Natalie and Sarah at Splash Central.  I feel so grateful and excited for the energy they brought to our idea of offering swimming therapy for our patients.

“A representative from Amoena Specialist Swimwear is on board for the launch and will bring their stock of specialised mastectomy swimwear and prostheses on the day.

“The launch day is open to the general public for anyone who has had breast cancer surgery, including those no longer on treatment and are still struggling to get on with ‘normal’ life.

“It is the patients who have come to the end of active treatment who often tell me that they feel the most abandoned when it comes to moving on with their lives and getting back to doing what they did before.

“Whilst they are on active treatment, there are constant appointments, visits, blood tests, the complications of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to prohibit or distract from doing this sort of activity, then when all that stops they don’t know where to turn to next for support and reassurance in getting back on it!

“This may be straight after treatment or several years down the line for some who are really struggling in silence! This facility will be a safe place for them to go to make a start and build confidence.

“We listened to the patients and asked the question “do you think we could…?” The overwhelming answer from The Breast Centre team was “YES”! Thanks to Sue in The Breast Appeal for making contact and teaming us up with Splash Central Cardiff.”

Sue Dickson-Davies, Senior Fundraiser for the Breast Centre Appeal said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Splash Central Cardiff on this project which they have so generously offered the use of their facilities free of charge to benefit those affected by breast cancer.

“This will make a massive difference to our patients, helping to improve their confidence and also their fitness in a calm, supportive environment.

“Thank you to Natalie, Sarah and the whole team at Splash Central – our patients can’t wait to get started.”

To find out more about The Breast Centre Appeal please visit www.healthcharity.wales  or follow them on Twitter @thebreastcentre or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BreastCentre/