Penny Brohn Cancer Centre Bristol, UK
Penny Brown is a Cancer centre in Bristol it is available to anybody who has had a cancer diagnosis whether they are still going through treatment or it was in the past and it also supports relatives of people going through cancer.
I attended the Penny Brohn centre during my primary diagnosis and found it really helpful. They offered emotional support, group support, therapist appointments and courses all which can help you deal with a cancer diagnosis.
The Penny Brohn Centre was founded in 1979 by Penny Brohn after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She recognised that she needed to care equally for her mind spirit and motions heart and soul and with a close friend Pat Pilkington they setup this wonderful Centre which opened in 1983.
The practices of the centre and even the location has changed over time. It is now set in a wonderful period house in the countryside just outside of Bristol. The house is absolutely beautiful with high ceilings and it’s just a place of tranquility. They have beautiful Gardens which are lovely to walk around especially when doing mindfulness and you really feel the grass underneath your feet and smell the flowers they even have bees. Also behind the house is a cycle path that you can walk down to the river this is also a lovely walk as I walked past farm animals, cottages and if you’re really feeling up to it you could even walk into Bristol from here but that’s not why you should come to Penny Brohn. Penny Brohn is a place of relaxation it is the place to get your thoughts in order to help you come to terms with having a cancer diagnosis
I have attended the living Well course and the approach course during primary cancer diagnosis. This time around when I have got a secondary diagnosis they don’t offer currently offer anything specifically for secondary cancer so they invited me back to attend the living well course again.
This place is really like a 5 star hotel, the house and gardens are beautiful, the volunteers and staff are so helpful and friendly and the food is also quite tasty. The food is very healthy and they go by the no sugar rule so it could be a bit of a shock to the system. Something else I found as a shock was the amount of beans that they use, be careful because you could end up with a bit of tummy ache like I did. They also don’t have any coffee so if this is your drink maybe take a little bit with you, they had alternatives like dandelion coffee. If you are on a residential course breakfast lunch and dinner is provided with a mid morning and afternoon snack normally rice cakes or a smoothie.
You can attend alone which is what I did or you can take a companion with you they will have a separate room or you can share a room depending on how close you are. As I said before I have now been three times to the residential retreats and each time I have met different people and some of these people have stayed in my life, are still supporting me and I am still supporting them.
Penny Brohn offer day courses as well such as let’s talk about dying well, healthy cooking demonstrations and treatments support clinic. If you attend a course there is more support offered afterwards. If you do not live near Bristol you can even contact them by telephone and they can offer up to 6 times and sessions over the phone which I think it’s just amazing. This is a charity they do ask for donations and they also have a various fundraising events throughout the year such as people running in the Bristol 10K and afternoon tea parties.
I cannot stress how amazing this place is, to have to go through something so scary but to know that there are people going through similar situations really mean something. It is also great that this is a free service so it is available for everyone especially as during cancer it can cause financial implications if you can’t afford to make a monetary donation you can also donate old clothes books DVDs CDs which they can sell to raise more money.
If you would like more information about attending Penny Borhn check out their website.