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Helen is 63 years old from Baillieston, she joined the Macmillan Walking Group in Glasgow in 2013. Here she tells us about her experience of becoming more active and feeling the benefits while living with cancer.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 when I was 61 years old. Being diagnosed and going through treatment was an incredibly busy time. I saw lots of cancer professionals and was in and out of hospital for treatment, however when the treatment ended I felt like I was in limbo and began to feel very lonely.
"I was told about various support groups I could attend and I gave them a go but I felt that I needed to get away from cancer rather than sit and talk about it. I was really lucky that I had a brilliant Macmillan nurse and she told me about the Macmillan’s Move More circuit classes that were taking place in Glasgow.
"I couldn’t take part in them at first but I just went along and watched. Then, when I was able, I joined in. It was such a turning point for me as I knew I was around people that had been through something similar to me and understood how I was feeling, so I could share my experiences and ask advice but I also didn’t need to talk about cancer if I didn’t want to and could just enjoy the classes. It’s not like going to a gym, nobody is bothered how we look or have impressive sportswear on; we just want to move a little.
"My love of the classes led me to volunteer for Macmillan’s Move More programme and I am now one of the Walk Leaders for the new walking groups in Glasgow. I want to help ensure that anyone going through something similar has the opportunity to move a little too as it has had huge benefits for me.
"The walking really helps my health and I feel the benefits each time but I actually barley notice I’m doing the exercise as I am chatting and laughing so much with people. Volunteering also gives me a lot back as I see the difference in people and how much they blossom after taking part in a few walks. Usually when people first join they are apprehensive but by the end of the walk you can see their faces shining and they have been laughing and chatting.
"If anyone is considering joining a walking group my advice would be not to be frightened and to come along and give it a go. You can bring a partner, friend or family member or I can arrange to meet them for the first time. It really does makes you feel good and helps you forget about cancer for a wee while. I am currently waiting on results to find out if cancer has spread to my vocal cords so it’s not a very nice time for me but I am so grateful that I have the walking groups to help me live with and fight cancer, but most of I know that I don’t have to face it alone."
Paths for All are working together with Macmillan Cancer Support to deliver Health Walks specifically for people living with cancer. Read more about the project here.