Friends of C-Side will be very pleased to hear that Denise and Stuart Savage are very much alive & kicking and taking advantage of the time made available since Denise decided to step away a little from C-Side earlier in the year. Attached below is the copy of an open letter she sent to C-Side describing her thoughts. Since Denise and Stuart are foundation members of C-Side, her recollections & remembrances included here come as close as possible to an official history of our support group.
Right from its begining Denise took charge of C-Side and was principal amongst those that shaped its personality & character; notwithstanding her own, not inconsiderable, medical health challenges she helped C-Side achieve so much. Denise would want it said that she was much aided in this by the support from husband Stuart – her self-styled “driver & bodyguard”.
Dear C-Side Friends,
I felt I left you all at the Christmas party in some haste without acknowledging the big part that C-Side and its members have played in my life. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts now that Christmas is over and Marilyn has kindly offered to read them out for me. It is impossible to leave an organisation, of which I have been a part since September 2012, without some real feelings of regret. It has had so many lovely members – some have come and gone, and I remember them all fondly. We have achieved so much too! Some of you will remember the whole day conference in the Audrey Emerton Building opposite the Brighton Hospital; the Awareness Raising Day at Hollingbury ASDA; our close work with the Clinical Nurse Specialists, especially Gill Hilton and Sarah Back; the many guest speakers (like Jeremy Clark, the Consultant Bowel Specialist and the wonderful Helen Bracey with her interactive bowel apron)); the Cocktails and Mocktails fundraising evening for Colonostomy UK and of course the many conversations we have had between ourselves. Perhaps that has been the biggest achievement of C-Side – we have shared, laughed and cried our way through each others’ cancer stories in such a supportive way. I’m sure that will continue. But we are not just a meet and chat group. In the past we have had a definite impact on practice and procedures in the hospital. Our opinions have been sought on many issues and have informed many an official hospital leaflet. Perhaps our biggest achievement has been the influence we had on the 5-year plan following surgery and in the changing practice at the Cancer Clinic, which now has nurse run clinics twice a week, where results of surgery treatment plans can be discussed, rather than being left to the consultants. These were as a direct result of C-Side’s input. Special thanks has to go to Mark and Paul Danieletto. C-Side was Mark’s big achievement when he was still a CNS, and Paul was with us on the committee and as catering manager until his death last year. I want to end with some really good news – my last CT scan was clear, and if my next CT scan in December is also clear, I will be discharged. It will have been 13 years of Bowel Cancer. I can only hope that you all remain positive and have the kind of love and support that Stuart and the rest of my family have given me. There can be life after cancer! Love to you all. I shall visit you, of course and hope that C-Side continues to thrive under the chairmanship of Steve.