A Stockton breast cancer survivor is paying the kindness she has received forward this Christmas as she gifts care packages to patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.
52-year-old Vicky Lofthouse, from Stockton, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2021. Shortly after her diagnosis, she began neoadjuvant (before primary treatment) chemotherapy at the University Hospital of North Tees to shrink her cancer before undergoing a lumpectomy.
She then underwent a further chemotherapy treatment to lower the risk of her breast cancer returning.
Vicky rang the chemotherapy unit’s bell in August of this year – marking the end of her successful cancer treatment.
She said: “It was a long 16 months receiving treatment. But the staff in the chemotherapy unit are so amazing, they’re so caring and nice in every way.
“I’m truly grateful for them giving me the support that they did.”
Now, four months in the clear, Vicky is giving back to the hospital’s chemotherapy unit to help support patients who are currently undergoing treatment.
With the support of her colleagues at Santander, where she works in the contact centre, Vicky put together 50 care packages – 25 for men and 25 for women.
They each contain essentials and small treats that Vicky herself didn’t realise she would need when undergoing treatment. This includes hats, hand warmers and socks to keep warm, colouring books to keep busy and small treats such as biscuits and sweets – all things Vicky believes would have made a difference to her days in the chemotherapy unit.
The care packages will be given to patients in the unit – some of which include friends Vicky made during her time in treatment.
Vicky continued: “I wanted to support local people going through tough times because I know myself that when you’re going through a hard time, kindness means so much.
“Getting something nice lifts you up, it makes you feel good. You appreciate those little things, especially at Christmas time.
“Santander have been amazing with helping me do this – I work with some amazing people. It just means the world to be part of this group and to be able to give something back to those going through what I did – it’s special seeing those two things come together.”
Michelle Holmes, chemotherapy matron, said: “On behalf of our unit and our patients, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Vicky and her colleagues at Santander.
“The thought and time that she has put into creating each of these care packages is amazing and we know they’ll make a difference to our patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment with us.”