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‘Lack of compassion’ within NHS fuels Thatcham mum’s cancer campaign



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After being left “without hope” following a “cold” cancer diagnosis, a Thatcham mother has used her experience to raise money in a compassion campaign.

Laura Kendrick, 42, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2020, where she said she had experienced a “first-hand lack of compassion” from her cancer health care teams.

This prompted the mother-of-two, who is also carer to three nieces, to raise awareness of the need for compassion and hope for those with cancer in her campaign #KindnessVsCancer.

Laura Kendrick with her family. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873810)
Laura Kendrick with her family. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873810)

She said there were many occasions where she felt written off by her health care provider thanks to the use of negative language, which then “severely impacted her mental health” and left her “without hope”.

Friend and singer-songwriter Sion Whiley has written and recorded a song for the campaign, based on Mrs Kendrick’s experiences, called 'Hope Engulfs Us' with lyrics reading: “All I have is hope. Please don’t crush my hope.”

She said that the song “encompasses” the fact that “hope is everything to a cancer patient” and added that hope can be a “lifeline in the darkest of times”.

Laura Kendrick is raising awareness and has set up a GoFundMe. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873806)
Laura Kendrick is raising awareness and has set up a GoFundMe. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873806)

Mrs Kendrick, who has worked in the NHS for 14 years, helped create the lyrics using moving conversations she has had with fellow patients.

As an HR Transformation Lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s South East region, Mrs Kendrick said she has always been passionate and committed to improving care for patients

She said: “I have such admiration for my colleagues working within the NHS, but it’s a huge system and the mechanistic approach to cancer care is simply not good enough for patients.

“Whilst I have experienced some excellent care, unfortunately that has been limited and my experience overall has been challenging. At times, the interaction I’ve had with health care professionals has broken my soul and deeply impacted my mental health.”

Laura Kendrick with her husband. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873808)
Laura Kendrick with her husband. Picture by: Laura Kendrick. (54873808)

Her #KindnessVsCancer campaign aims to raise at least £50,000 to fund training for oncology teams across the NHS.

She wants this training to focus on ensuring health care teams understand the critical importance of compassion and empathy towards patients, and how it’s vital that hope remains during diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

She also says it will cover the role of humanity in cancer care and the significance of mind-body connection.

Now, using her experience as both a senior professional in the NHS and a cancer patient, she aims to “revolutionise and transform the current approach to cancer care in this country”.

She said: “That’s why I started the kindness versus cancer campaign, to ensure that health care professionals get the training they need to treat cancer patients with kindness, compassion and provide them with much needed hope.

“It would be amazing to get 'Hope Engulfs Us' in the charts to help us raise as much money as possible and achieve our goal!”



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