Sukhi's story If you were to ask Sukhi Dhillon what she loves most in the world, she will tell you without hesitance: her two sons and supporting others. A teacher of Punjabi, Sukhi lives in Royal Leamington Spa and her main commitment in life she says has always been supporting others, her family in particular. ‘I think that’s my natural thing’, confesses Sukhi, ‘I like to help and nurture people’. In 2010, a sudden breast cancer diagnosis quickly prohibited Sukhi from being her usual supportive self to her loved ones. With her husband often working abroad, two sons taking their exams and the emergence of difficult family problems, Sukhi hadn’t the time for the painful surgery, treatment and side effects that breast cancer forced upon her. Nevertheless, Sukhi persisted throughout her treatment, never one to shy away from a challenge, and tried her hardest to give her children as normal a childhood as possible. Her son, Amardeep, recalls how it was a battle getting her to accept their help: ‘She hid how much pain she was in, she hid how difficult it was for her. She’d always encourage me to go out with friends and to get on with my school work. I had to fight her to let me wash the dishes and mop the floor. I think bizarrely Mum made sure she was more there for us than we were for her, which is a testament to how strong she is’. Sukhi may have been just about getting by, but her hectic lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. It would take something exceptional to really convince her that she needed to accept some help and claim a little time for herself. This ‘something’ was her discovery of Breast Cancer Haven. ‘Coming down to London to Breast Cancer Haven… I can’t tell you how grateful I am and how much it saved me’, says Sukhi. ‘I said to the boys, I won’t be here when you come home from school, which means on some days nobody will be here. But I need to do this so that I can become stronger for you’. Over the course of Sukhi’s experience with breast cancer, she was able to come to Breast Cancer Haven and receive treatments in acupuncture, emotional healing, aromatherapy and life-work coaching. These helped her with pain from surgery and the emotional fallout of breast cancer too. The coping techniques she learnt, she claims have made her stronger and have continued to keep her strong even after her experience of breast cancer: ‘I remember the techniques when I’m dealing with stress, which allows me to continue doing things I love instead of always worrying. During treatment, I made sure I stayed focussed on other things I enjoyed, too. I concentrated on cooking and baking and sold cakes twice a week locally, even studied ancient Greek to keep my brain ticking’. Sukhi’s breast cancer treatment is now in the past but her experience and the support of Breast Cancer Haven has taught her that even the strongest people can’t stay strong for those around them without a bit of help and support themselves. This, she claims, has been the biggest lesson of all. If you have a breast cancer story to share, please click here.