MY CHILDREN will be proud of me.
Those were the words of Cheryl Anderson who won the Unsung Hero category.
It was one of the most heartbreaking and inspirational stories of this year’s Best of Health Awards.
Cheryl Anderson, who volunteers for Look Good, Feel Better, runs a beauty workshop in the Macmillan Cancer Centre in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.
She was nominated by Laura Pauley, a communications officer for the hospital trust, who was touched to hear her story.
Cheryl said: ‘My children will be proud of me.
‘It’s fantastic to win and thank you so much.’
Cheryl discovered LGFB when she herself was diagnosed with a 7cm tumour in November 2010.
She has been told by a consultant that her cancer is incurable and that she would have at best about five years.
Despite four cycles of chemotherapy with intravenous drugs, tablets and a blood transfusion, her Cheryl’s prospects haven’t changed – but she dedicates what time she has left to support women in combating the visible side effects of cancer treatment, and in turn boosting their confidence.
She runs beauty workshops offering women make-up and tips on how to apply it.
‘I love seeing the ladies’ faces at the end,’ said Cheryl.
‘They come in, the same way I did and wondering “what are they going to do to me,”. But by the end of it the ladies are hugging each other, exchanging phone numbers and will have chatted to each.
‘It’s an event where they can let their hair down, talk about their own cancer and what’s going on with them.
‘It helps each and every one of them and it’s brilliant, we love it.’
The workshops are for women that have had physical side effects from their cancer treatment.
Laura said: ‘Over the last year I visited four workshops which have been led by Cheryl and I instantly noticed the room be lifted by her bubbly presence and enthusiasm.
‘I have no doubt the reason why each session was so relaxed was because of Cheryl’s warm, bubbly attitude and presence, giving the women advice on visual encounters she experienced through her own chemotherapy and how she overcame them.
‘Cheryl told me when her appearance started to change she felt vulnerable and didn’t recognise her reflection any more, so she wanted to help others that are feeling the same.
‘I have spoken to many women who have attended Cheryl’s workshop and each has sung her praise and spoke highly of how she has helped shape their life in some way.’
Runner-up in this category, which was sponsored by Admiral Care, was play volunteer for Naomi House Steve Camburn.