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Stories of Hope

From Grief to Growth

Like many people, for the first few months after tragically losing her mother to cancer in November 2019, Hannah kept herself busy and pushed her grief aside. 

However, when the COVID lockdowns started in March 2020 and Hannah was left alone with her thoughts, the full impact of her loss became unavoidable. The grief began to seep into every aspect of Hannah’s life, affecting her relationship with her then-partner, friendships, and daily functioning. 

Uncomfortable with phone or online counselling, Hannah was desperate for face-to-face interaction. She discovered Cancer Wellness Support who, despite the lockdowns, could provide in-person counselling and specialised in cancer, grief, and loss.

From the moment Hannah walked through the door of the Robyn Yates Centre in Leura, she felt a unique warmth and welcome. She describes the staff at CWS as a community of caring individuals who know every client by name and have a genuine interest in each person’s wellbeing, far beyond the standard “how are you?” interactions. 

This personalised approach is rare in many places, where staff often rely on screens or notes to remember clients. At CWS, it feels like a close-knit family, making each visit a comforting experience.

The Robyn Yates Centre has become a sanctuary for Hannah. Regardless of her mood when she arrives, she always leaves feeling infinitely better. It’s a place where she can simply “be” without any expectations or pressures, and a true safe haven.

Having seen over 20 counsellors and psychologists since primary school, Hannah knows the impact a dedicated professional can have. Only three have truly made a difference in her life, with Vivienne (Viv) Matiland, the Client Services Manager at Cancer Wellness Support, being one of them. 

As her personal counsellor, Viv’s intuitive understanding of Hannah’s needs has been transformative. Whether Hannah requires a motherly figure, a therapist, or just someone to talk to, Viv is always there, knowing exactly what she needs and ready to support her. 

From day one, Viv took Hannah and her father under her wing, providing them with tailored advice and matching them with the right therapists. This personalised care has continued to benefit them both years later.

Unlike previous experiences where Hannah felt judged or doubted, Viv has provided her with the practical tools to navigate her emotions and challenges. This has helped Hannah move beyond her constant state of fight or flight, giving her a sense of stability and confidence. Even in this past month, she’s been able to address her needs directly with her employer and recognise early signs of stress, implementing strategies to prevent burnout.

Reflecting on her journey, Hannah often wishes she had known about CWS during her mother’s cancer journey. 

Today, whenever she meets someone diagnosed with cancer, CWS is always the first recommendation she makes, encouraging others to experience the genuine support and care that has made such a difference in her life.

Hannah is particularly passionate about reaching out to young carers in their 20s and 30s, like herself. She understands the unique challenges they face and is eager to spread the word through social media, where younger generations are most active. 

Hannah remains dedicated to sharing her positive experience with others, ensuring that more people can benefit from the incredible people and resources at Cancer Wellness Support.

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