Centre is a ‘saving
grace’ for Carolyn

Charis Cancer Care Patron Jenny Bristow with Charis Cancer Care Centre Director Imelda McGucken
Charis Cancer Care Patron Jenny Bristow with Charis Cancer Care Centre Director Imelda McGucken

A Dromara woman who developed a rare brain tumour that

could have claimed her life but for vital surgery has hailed the Charis Cancer Centre as “a saving grace”.

Carolyn McDonald was full of praise for the centre, based near Cookstown but working with people across Northern Ireland, as news emerged that its ‘New Ways of Thinking’ initiative had been shortlisted to receive funding in the People’s Millions TV contest, a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.

Charis Cancer Care is a self- funded charity supporting cancer patients through their journey by providing body therapies such as massage, aromatherapy and reflexology, counselling, advice on benefits entitlement and nutritional advice. Therapists and tutors work with the person as a whole, ensuring they benefit from advice and treatments which are free of charge.

Carolyn turned to Charis in 2012, just prior to undergoing surgery.It was some four years earlier that the 48 year-old first found out she had a benign brain tumour, identified as an acoustic neuroma, a condition developed by just one person in 80,000.

Having heard of Charis from a friend, Carolyn and her husband paid a visit, describing the grounds as “a place of tranquility”.

Carolyn discussed the way forward with Charis Director Imelda McGucken, who stressed the fact that her tumour was benign, rather than cancerous, was immaterial; what mattered was the outcome and Carolyn’s wellbeing.

Post-surgery, Carolyn spent some nine days recovering in hospital, during which time she developed paralysis in the right side of her face.

Charis continued checking on her progress and welcomed her, when she was fit to travel, for a series of treatments, while providing a number of services and courses in trauma and post-traumatic stress.

Carolyn said of her husband and family’s support and the psychological difficulties of their journey together that her husband “took one person into the hospital and brought out a stranger” but Charis came through for them and got them on the road to recovery with continuous support.

Carolyn has now recovered fully and taken up the reins of her life again.