Cancer survivor Lorraine Harrison has been given a second chance at independence with the help of North West care village, Belong Wigan.
Lorraine, 45, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, aged 31. The cancer was successfully treated but returned in 2005, having spread to her spinal cord and, later, her bones. She was paralysed, unable to walk, and given just three months to live.
Refusing to give up, however, she pursued further treatment, but complications from the disease meant that Lorraine was no longer able to live independently at home, and she sought out full-time nursing care.
After a brief stay in a local traditional care home setting, Lorraine approached Gill Menguy, General Manager at Belong Wigan, and moved into a 24-hour care household at the village.
Speaking about her time at Belong Wigan, Lorraine said: “I cannot thank the staff at Belong Wigan enough for everything they have done for me. For a long time I was stuck in bed, unable to walk, but with physiotherapy and Belong’s support I am now able to walk with a walker, something I – and the doctors – thought I’d never be able to do again.”
Earlier this year, Lorraine received the news that her cancer was finally stable. However, this meant that Lorraine was no longer eligible to receive the funding she needed to live at Belong Wigan, and was required to find alternative independent accommodation. However, after six years in full-time care, this was much easier said than done.
“Lorraine has made a fantastic recovery and her positive outlook on life despite everything is truly inspirational,” Gill Menguy, from Belong Wigan, said. “But her illness, while stable, is on-going, and it has left her with a number of other health complications that make it almost impossible for her to live independently.”
After being forced to sell her home and personal possessions to move into full-time care, Lorraine was faced with the prospect of having to declare herself homeless. At that point, Belong stepped in.
“After everything we simply could not face seeing Lorraine struggle any more, so we made arrangements to offer her accommodation in one of our on-site independent living apartments and access our home-care service, Belong at Home, to help with her care needs,” Gill continued. “We organised a little move-in party for her, complete with a bit of bubbly and a cake made by one of our team! It goes without saying that we wish Lorraine the very best and we’re delighted that we have been able to do our bit to help.”
Lorraine added: ”I will always be grateful to the staff at Belong. They have been like family to me, and have helped me through my hardest times. They have repeatedly pulled out all of the stops to help me and their kindness and unwavering support has undoubtedly helped me to get where I am today.”