Breast Cancer Awareness Month, An Inspirational Story

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In recent years, British Cycling has committed to providing increased opportunities for women to ride in a safe, supportive environment and to gain skills and confidence. Since March 2013, over 250,000 more women have taken up cycling. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness month we thought we would highlight how cycling can help aid recovery during breast cancer through an inspirational story…

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43 year-old Melanie Hurley, mother-of-two, from Sussex was diagnosed with breast
cancer in February 2012. She had to undergo a mastectomy in January 2013, and the care she received from Macmillan nurses drove her on to raise more money for charity; helping to support and inspire those whose lives have also been touched by cancer.

“I was driving from Horsham to St Luke’s Cancer Centre, in Guilford, Monday to Friday for six weeks for my radiotherapy. During the journey, I’d pass signs for the Farnham charity bike ride, and the more I passed those signs, the more I thought that I’d be able to do it. I set myself a goal to complete the 25 mile route which was to take place exactly 25 days after I finished my treatment”.

Melanie put in a bid for a new road bike online and started training. She strongly feels that the fresh air helped her recover physically and mentally and working towards a goal helped her through her treatment.

“If I was to give advice on cycling to other women who’ve had breast cancer, I would say it’s an easy form of exercise. The fresh air and lovely scenery is good for the mind and body, and cycling can be done at your own pace to help with your recovery. Cycling made me get out of bed on days when I didn’t feel like it but as soon as you’re actually on the bike it feels great!”

Having been given the all-clear Melanie continued setting herself ambitious goals. This year she has completed all six of the 100km Cycletta events. She is hoping to participate in longer rides and also to become a ride leader to encourage others to take up cycling.

“I’m so pleased I discovered road cycling; it’s given me lots of opportunities to take part in events and travel around the UK, I have truly got the cycling bug”.

At Macmillan Cancer Support, as a result of the growing evidence base, we have developed a new service area to enable people affected by cancer to realise the benefits of moving more.

We are working through local strategic partnerships between clinical care, public health, local government, and local providers of physical activity to provide a person-centred behavioural counselling service. A new service has recently been launched in Sussex let by Albion in the Community.

People are supported to become and stay active whether in a supervised gym-based programme, through their local health walks group or through a get-back-into-sport programme like Melanie has accessed. To find out more about your nearest behaviour change care pathway service contact us at

Walking gains popularity in Berkshire

Within Macmillan’s Berkshire Wellbeing physical activity programme, there have been 214 referrals to Walking for Health, making it the most popular activity requested from service users on the pathway. The group led walks are open to all but are particularly suited to those with a long term health conditions and take place in the local community, making them easily accessible.

The groups are so popular that service users have been trained to be walk leaders themselves and volunteer for their local scheme. This is fantastic to see, as Walking for Health thrives from new volunteers getting involved and existing volunteers report high satisfaction rates, with 99% saying that they would recommend volunteering with the programme. Walking for Health offers a full day’s training course delivered by a cascade trainer, with an accompanying manual. The training focuses on the practicalities of leading a health walk, but also upon the benefits of walking, route planning and leading walkers with special requirements. To find out more, visit the Walking for Health website.

There are walking programmes in other parts of the UK: Walking for Health in Northern Ireland, Paths for All in Scotland and Let’s Walk Cymru in Wales. Linking in with your local scheme is a great way to help people affected by cancer, so please get in touch with them. That way you can signpost people to their walks or discuss the possibility of walks starting from your support centre.
Contact Macmillan’s physical activity team for more information: or go to

Welcome Arry!

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Arry Beresford-Webb joins the Physical Activity Team as the Physical Activity Manager (Wales) leading  on the development and implementation of Macmillan’s physical activity programme across Wales, working closely with colleagues across Macmillan and with external partners.

She began her career as a Sports Therapist, working closely with elite football and rugby teams as well as running a mobile clinic for 10 years. Both during and following life in the world of deep heat and rehabilitation, she held specialist physical activity and health roles within Public Health and the Environment sector in Wales. Within these roles she developed the Physical Activity Network for Wales, created tools and provided advice on physical activity, behavioural change and evaluation ­to support the delivery of policy and the development of community based projects.

Most recently she worked as Development Manager for Ramblers Cymru, building partnerships and focusing on diversifying the Ramblers audience in Wales to encourage more families, young and working age people to take part in walking as an activity.

Outside of work she can be found baking cakes and running through the mountains with her big, bouncy, rescue dog, Elvis!

Contact Arry on or 07736275838.

BHF Just Good Medicine Conference


On the 22nd September the team attended the Just Good Medicine : The role of physical activity in the prevention and management of long term conditions conference in Loughborough. bhf jo

Macmillan had a huge presence with Jo Foster chairing the symposium alongside a  panel of experts, Sarah Worbey presenting the physical activity care pathway, Justin Webb showcasing 2 posters on Increasing the frequency of physical activity very brief advice for cancer patients  and The development of a behaviour change intervention and Kim Davies presenting their a poster on their
programme Get Active Feel Good Shropshire

The key messages from conference were:

  • When approaching CCGs do prior research on who they are and what they want. Also come with evidence from the database and be realistic about timescales for return on investment. Ensure that validated measures are used when gathering data so that evidence can support the case put forward.
  • Modest enhancements in physical activity/fitness in previously inactive individuals are associated with the largest benefits.
  • Be aware that for certain populations exercise can be dangerous. g for people who exercise at a vigorous intensity, endurance exercise for the over 40s as it can lead to athyreotic disease and emerging evidence of endurance activities and atrial fibrillation leading to a risk of a stroke.
  • There is a growing movement that genetics are playing a large part in physical activity and in the future of exercise prescription. Remain aware of the idea of “personalised medicine” and remain flexible if any new research comes out which may require aspects of the pathway to change in order to remain with the most up to date research.
  • Ability to meet and connect with stakeholders and people within the industry and charitable sector in one place, all with a common goal and bringing many skill sets and offerings into one place. That networking opportunity on a face to face basis is very powerful and effective. Having an overview of the “bigger picture” is also very valuable to step outside of your usual scope of work and understand where it fits in and contributes on a wider forum

To see the presentations follow the link here 

Health and Wellbeing Events

Attending health and wellbeing events are proving to be a fantastic way for services to increase referrals and make new contacts with healthcare professionals and create new support group contacts.

Recently the Macmillan Active Manchester service were invited to a series of Health
and Wellbeing events including an upper GI support group meeting, a head and neck wellbeing event and a cancer experience forum event. All of these events provided the opportunity to meet people who had been affected by cancer and to increase awareness of the support that is available when the treatment finishes. These meetings resulted in three new referrals, two new clinical nurse specialist contacts and three new cancer support group contacts.

Ambokile Bell, project lead from Active Manchester said,

“The health and wellbeing events provide the perfect opportunity for our service to network with health care professionals, various community services and meet new service users. The sessions are an informal setting to provide advice and support to all on moving more, the event coordinators  allowed us to distribute project leaflets and move more resources at the event which has resulted in an increase of self referrals. We have now produced an annual calendar of well being events and allocated project ambassadors who are able to give a powerful message of their journey through the project. ”

The Get Active Feel Good service in Shropshire also attended a Health and Wellbeing day for Sarcoma patients which provided the opportunity to make contact and network with a population who they previously had no contact with.

Kim Davies from Get Active Feel Good Shropshire said,

“At this event Get Active Feel Good was able to give a 20 minute presentation where we discussed getting patients back into various sports and deliver Move More packs, DVDs and marketing leaflets. The event also enabled us to meet new clinical nurse specialists from a different trust and make new contacts with physiotherapists, nutritionists, complementary therapists and other charities. The Boots team were also present to provide referrals and signpost. This event will be an annual event in our calendar and we are looking at attending a regular support group to deliver very brief advice”.

Move More Fife Walking

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Move More Fife was launched 2 years ago and is now expanding to include Move More Fife Walking. It is well known that walking is an extremely popular activity for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis due to the social, accessible and fun nature of the activity.

Jacquie Stringer, health and physical activity manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust said,

“Move More Fife Walking is a great way for people during or after cancer treatment to take part in physical activity while enjoying the social support of people in similar circumstances. There is lots of evidence to show that physical activity for people during and after cancer treatment can provide benefits to improved physical function, relief from fatigue, nausea and improve quality of life. Equally, for those living with cancer, physical activity helps support a return to a healthy and active lifestyle.

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“We have volunteers who will help take walks which last around 30 minutes – the volunteers come with a variety of backgrounds and most have been involved in our health programme previously. People taking part are welcome to bring along a family member or friend if they prefer. We hope the programme will offer people across Fife both emotional and physical benefits following a cancer diagnosis.”

For more information about Move More Fife and Move More walking visit: