Cancer survivor shows gratitude to nurses with global coffee morning event

This Is Wiltshire: Rachel Biffen prepares her Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event Rachel Biffen prepares her Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event

Mum-of-two Rachel Biffen, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year, is thanking the nurses who supported her by taking part in Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Mrs Biffen, of Ebor Gardens, Calne, said she went into “free-fall” when she received the diagnosis, but with the support of husband Steve, friends, family, her doctors and Macmillan nurses, she is now recovering well.

She first went to hospital after noticing a lump in her neck four years ago, being told it was a cyst which she chose not to have removed.

But Last year, she noticed the lump had become much worse, sometimes making it difficult for her to breathe, and doctors at The Great Western Hospital in Swindon discovered she was suffering with the rare form of cancer.

Mrs Biffen, 43, said: “Your first thought on being told you have cancer is ‘I’m dying’.

“I was terrified. It feels like your body has let you down. It’s beyond words really.”

Mrs Biffen, a primary school teacher, went through two operations to remove her thyroid, and then was given radioactive iodine treatment.

“It’s just an exhausting thing to go through,” she said.

“You feel sick all the time, you have a headache all the time, and you never have any energy.

“Cleaning the house felt like running a marathon. My children are aged eight and nine, and my stepson is 16, so it was difficult for everyone for me to be so exhausted constantly.”

A Macmillan nurse, who was in the room at the time of diagnosis, was one of the first people to comfort Mrs Biffen.

“The nurse said ‘Don’t worry, we are going to get you through it, we’ll be there every step of the way’,” said Mrs Biffen.

“Without their support, I would have fallen apart – even more than I already had. I just want to raise some money to give something back.”

The cause is even more poignant for Mrs Biffen because her aunt Tessa died of cancer earlier this year.

During the Macmillan’s annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, she will be helped by her aunt’s children, her friends and her mother-in-law.

Mrs Biffen will also be selling a range of healthy nutritional supplements by PureXenca at the coffee morning, which she credits with helping her detox after radiation treatment.

All profits will be used towards the refurbishment of the radiation room in the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

“My cousins Gemma and Karen are coming to help me host the coffee morning, which is lovely,” she said. “I hope we raise lots of money for Macmillan.”

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