Northampton breast cancer support group plans to give NGH patients kit bags to help with chemotherapy's side effects

The kit bags contain items which help patients cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.
The kit bags contain items which help patients cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.

A Northampton breast cancer support group is hoping to secure funding so that it can hand out kit bags to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Northampton General Hospital.

Breast Friends Northampton will hold its sixth monthly meeting in November since it was set up in June by breast cancer survivors Leonie Heard, Clair Lineham and Jennie Legg, who were all diagnosed within months of each other.

From left to right: Justine Cheadle, Clair Lineham, Jenni Legg, Leonie Heard

From left to right: Justine Cheadle, Clair Lineham, Jenni Legg, Leonie Heard

The group are hoping to raise £4,800 from the Aviva Community Fund to provide the Project 8 chemotherapy kit bags.

After seeking feedback from a national breast cancer support network with over 2,000 members, as well as drawing from their own personal experience of chemotherapy, Breast Friends Northampton members highlighted eight of the most common side effects of the treatment: pain, menopause, dry skin, damaged nails, anxiety, nausea, hair loss and infection.

To help patients cope with these, their kit bags contain heat packs for pain; aromatherapy for menopause; a blanket and a journal for anxiety, nail treatment, gloss and file for damaged nails; moisturiser for dry skin; shampoo bar and an eyebrow kit for hair loss; peppermint teabags for nausea; and antibacterial wash, soap and BPA free water bottle for infection.

At their initial chemotherapy appointment, patients will be given a postcard so they can contact Breast Friends to request a kit bag.

"The feedback we have received so far has been incredibly positive, from our members, healthcare professionals and the public," said Leonie.

"This response is what has spurred us on to want to offer these kit bags to breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in our community.

"We feel that alongside the offer of practical support with the kit bags, we are offering understanding, empathy and a welcome to the local peer support group.

"Healthcare professionals have very limited resources and time, we at Breast Friends Northampton endeavour to support not only the patients but the NHS staff."

You can vote for Breast Friends Northampton in the Aviva Community Fund Awards here.