A CANCER survivor has received rousing support from the community following her final chemotherapy session.

Karen Waslin, from Newton-le-Willows, was diagnosed with breast cancer last October after finding a lump.

She said: “I found a lump in my breast and went straight to my GP and was referred to St Helens Hospital.

“In the space of two hours, they had done all these tests and I saw the consultant. They couldn’t confirm it at that point until the biopsy results came through, but it was looking pretty obvious that I was going to be diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Karen, a primary school teaching assistant, was later referred to Whiston Hospital where she received a mastectomy and reconstruction by plastic surgeons.

Following the operation, the 41-year-old was sent to the Lilac Centre in St Helens to receive her chemotherapy in January.

Karen said: “The staff there are amazing. They just make you feel really comfortable.

"While you used to be able to bring someone with you while you had chemo, now because of covid, you can't. I thought that would make it harder, but it means that you talk to the staff more, the other patients, and chat to people who’ve all got the same experiences.

“It sounds odd but it’s actually quite nice sitting there having your chemotherapy because you could share experiences with people and if you’ve got any fears, there’s people there to answer your questions.”

On completing her chemotherapy, Karen brought her family with her to ring the hospital bell, with her seven-year-old-daughter Arwen cheering her on.

Karen said: “My daughter was six when I was diagnosed and we were completely open with her from the beginning because I think if you hide things, it’s worse.

“She came with me and rang the bell at the hospital. It was lovely, she got to ring the bell as well which she was very excited about.”

Karen had her final round of the treatment last Wednesday and celebrated with her loved ones at her local pub where she received a warm welcome from both staff and customers at the Pied Bull.

The mum-of-one said: “Because I had been there the day before, the staff knew I was having my last chemo. They were congratulating me when I went in and were really pleased for me.

“During the quiz, the quizmaster came over and asked my name and did a shoutout halfway through and everybody in the pub cheered.

“Nia, the landlady, took me round the bar and said, ‘here’s another bell you can ring’, so I rang their bell and again everybody cheered.”

The winners of the pub quiz later announced that they wished to donate their winnings to a charity of Karen’s choice.

The total winnings was £44, and the Pied Bull offered to double it.

Karen added: “It’s just so kind. It really brought a tear to my eye, that generosity, that kindness.”

Karen’s charity of choice was Little Lifts, a charity for women with breast cancer.

The charity provides care packages which includes practical items that help accommodate the side effects of chemotherapy.

Karen herself received a care package from the charity and wanted to give back by setting up a challenge.

She said: “I set myself a challenge last month, as I’ve always walked a lot but because of chemo I couldn’t do it.

“I decided that I would walk the length of a marathon throughout May to raise money for Little Lifts.”

Warrington Guardian: Karen challenged herself to walk half a mile a day to raise money for the breast cancer charity Karen challenged herself to walk half a mile a day to raise money for the breast cancer charity

Karen completed her 26.2-mile challenge and managed to raise nearly £1400.

Karen will be starting radiotherapy next month and is also hoping to return to work in September.

To donate to Karen's Go Fund Me page, go to https://littlelifts.enthuse.com/pf/karen-waslin-846e2?fbclid=IwAR0sX2FW4LljNymfh1OHqrCOXW1Q2p-aOMaYF5s8pYTkndOjGIDvS8FYuBo