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Stories of Hope

A Place to Call Home: How Cancer Wellness Support Kept Us in the Blue Mountains

Before discovering Cancer Wellness Support, Lee Pittman (client) and Rob Pittman (carer) had been preparing to leave their beloved Blue Mountains for Sydney, seeking cancer support services. However, the personalised individual therapies, the support of the Metastatic Support Group, the tailored programs, and the genuine warmth and care of the Cancer Wellness Support community have been so extraordinary that they have decided to remain in the Blue Mountains.

In July 2007, Lee received a life-changing diagnosis of breast cancer. Little did she know that over a decade later, in May 2020, she would face another daunting diagnosis – metastatic breast cancer, now in her bones. 

Cancer is not a stranger to Lee’s family. Her father (now deceased), three female cousins, two nieces, sister and son have all experienced various forms of cancer. Tragically, both Lee’s sister and her 27-year-old son lost their lives to cancer within two months of each other in 2010.

Amidst all of this, Lee and her husband Rob have discovered an incredible community within Cancer Wellness Support.

Lee’s involvement began when she was asked to MC a fashion parade fundraiser for Cancer Wellness Support in February 2022. Lee saw the opportunity as a chance to shift her focus and lift her spirits, as she had been feeling very low. Initially, Cancer Wellness Support wasn’t aware of Lee’s cancer diagnosis, but soon encouraged her to share her story as part of her MC role on the day.

At a morning tea in March 2022, Viv Maitland, Client Services Manager, encouraged Lee to come and join the Metastatic (Met) Support Group. Lee was still in pain and trying to get the balance right with her medication, and told Viv that she couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting around talking about cancer. Viv told her she may be surprised, and encouraged her to bring Rob along too.

Despite their initial reservations, Lee and Rob have found the Met Group to be a fantastic source of positivity, laughter, and shared experiences. Far from just discussing cancer, the group focuses on living life to the fullest. If someone has a concerning scan, others in the group offer support by sharing their own experiences and suggesting alternative approaches, helping the person leave the meeting feeling optimistic and empowered to explore new options.

Cancer Wellness Support has also provided individual complementary therapies tailored to Lee and Rob’s needs. Lee has been able to work on her balance through a specialised program, while Rob has received massages to alleviate his shoulder pain to enable him to better care for Lee. Rob has always been active, but he’s realised the importance of staying fit and strong for Lee since her diagnosis. Both have found immense value in these personalised services, grateful for the holistic support provided by Cancer Wellness Support to both clients and carers.

Despite considering moving to Sydney to be closer to cancer support services, Rob has found nothing that compares to what Cancer Wellness Support offers. The warmth, care, and sense of community they have found in the Blue Mountains is irreplaceable. For them, the hour-long journey for monthly oncology appointments is a small sacrifice for the weekly support and connection they’ve found at Cancer Wellness Support.

For Lee and Rob, what sets Cancer Wellness Support apart is the peaceful environment, friendly faces, and genuine care that makes every visit feel like coming home. Whether it’s through group meetings or individual sessions, they always feel heard, understood, and supported. Lee shared that despite the amazing support of Rob, she values having a trained professional to confide in. In the lounge area of the Robyn Yates Centre, there’s always someone available for connection and sharing stories.

Rob described the serene experience of walking through beautiful gardens into a welcoming environment filled with friendly faces. He highlighted the calm atmosphere, where you’re always heard and can relax after sessions or group meetings. It’s a peaceful haven where you feel truly cared for.

Lee and Rob’s appreciation for Cancer Wellness Support has extended to introducing four friends to the community, knowing firsthand the difference it can make in someone’s life. For Lee, being able to help others and learn from their experiences has been a source of strength and inspiration.

Lee and Rob both acknowledge this is a credit to Robyn Yates’ vision, the financial service delivery model she’s created, and the therapists, volunteers and staff at Cancer Wellness Support who make it all happen.

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