Her motivation isn’t purely fundraising – Trish is on a mission to make sure that people living with cancer know that there is help and support, no matter what they are going through.
“Cancer changed me”, says Trish. “I was initially diagnosed in 2020, and had radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment amid the chaos of the pandemic. After a routine scan in October 2021, a secondary tumour was found and I then had surgery. I was a confident person until my diagnosis and then suddenly I felt incredibly vulnerable, like a completely different person. Everything felt worse of course because of covid restrictions. There were masks, so no reassuring smiles. There was social distancing, so no comforting hugs. Visits were unaccompanied which contributed to making it a devastatingly lonely time and my emotions were running riot.
“A friend steered me towards Macmillan in Northern Ireland and I’ve had support for much more than my physical health. Cancer affected more than that – my emotions, my finances, my relationships, every part of my life. I want more people to know that they don’t have to sit in silence, that they are not alone. I’m passionate about doing everything I can to get the message out. I also had a great relationship with both my GP and Cancer Nurse Specialist, these two people were invaluable throughout my journey.”
Trish is a member of the Macmillan Cancer Experience Panel in NI which aims to amplify the voice of people living with cancer. She is also a digital storyteller, campaigner, and steering group member, candidly talking about her experience to inform and support others.
Her ‘Mighty Hike’ fundraiser is all the more astonishing because it wasn’t long ago that she could barely walk. She explains, “My treatment was invasive and intense and I was in a lot of pain and feeling so tired. I’d always been active, and to have no energy was hard. I knew I had to give myself time to heal, but I also wanted to give myself something to focus on.
“I started Macmillan’s Move More physical activity programme which helps people get active after a cancer diagnosis. It was just the motivation I needed, supported by Macmillan Coordinators, Claire and Marty, to go at my own pace. From that point on, I started to find myself again. I found joy and strength in walking, and my family and friends joined me, taking those important steps by my side. I also had advice from the Macmillan Benefits Service, and complementary therapies and counselling from Action Cancer.
“There’s no way to convey just how much cancer can affect your life…until it does. I asked for help and I received it, but I know that many people out there don’t know where to find it, or feel worried about asking.
“In a reassuringly full circle, I feel as though I’ve changed again in the most positive ways. I am grateful every day for my life and I feel stronger. By taking on the hilly Causeway route this year with my partner Mark, my children Ben, Grace, Luke and Alex, my mother-in-law Valerie, and my wider support network, I’m not just raising vital funds for Macmillan in NI.
“I’m also showing people that having a secondary diagnosis won’t stop me being the very best version of me that I can be, and reminding people that however cancer affects you, whatever questions you have, there is help. Call the Macmillan Support Line, talk to someone about how you are feeling. Don’t keep it inside.”
To support Trish and her Coast Busters, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patricia-prosser