Warm, welcoming, efficient. Just three words but with such incredible meaning. These three words encompass everything that is essential and they are the words of Sally Kriel when describing Bloomhill Cancer Care. 

Recently announced as our Bloomhill Ambassador for an upcoming Ignite - 'Conversations of Cancer' event, Sally came to know our staff and volunteers shortly after a diagnosis of early bowel cancer. With an ever-positive attitude and a beautiful smile, Sally considers herself fortunate in so many respects. 

I am extremely lucky in that I followed my gut instinct,” Sally recalled. “I sought medical advice and have a GP who referred me for appropriate screening which identified my early cancer.” 

In the past, Sally had heard from friends and colleagues of the excellent Cancer Care services offered by Bloomhill and so it was an easy decision to self-refer soon after surgery. 

At just 38 years of age, Sally faced the emotional and physical hurdles of a cancer diagnosis and treatment while the mother to two young boys who were just 18 months and three years old.  

Although much has happened since, Sally clearly recalls her initial introduction to Bloomhill as positive personal experience when meeting with her nurse case manager a few weeks following her surgery. She took a very comprehensive assessment and I instantly felt that I had found a wonderful organization to help me to manage my recovery. My husband and I felt that we were supported and that we had hope. 

“My post-operative recovery was challenging with gross fatigue, malnourishment and nausea. My greatest challenge was my stage of life, managing my symptoms and recovering from an illness and surgery while being a mum to two little boys. It was emotionally and physically grueling. I spent many months experiencing periods where I needed to 'parent' from the lounge or bed. I learnt to be flexible and surrender to what I thought that my recovery 'should look like'. My recovery became easier when I accepted that I needed time, patience and a positive outlook. 

“Parenting through cancer (or any illness) is a unique realm that requires specific support structures, advice and resources. Whether it is facing a potential early mortality, managing your symptoms while trying to care for your children, juggling treatment and school runs, etc; a specialist cancer team is invaluable. High performing cancer centres such as Bloomhill can help improve the lives of patients and their family long term.” 

“Bloomhill is an amazing organisation that has a team of skilled health professionals who uniquely understand the entire cancer journey- from diagnosis, to cancer management, survivorship, prevention and beyond. A service that can provide access to skilled traditional health professionals such as nurses, counselors, psychologists, and dietitians- while also providing holistic care through acupuncture, cancer massage, thai chi, meditation and cancer support groups...... it is simply phenomenal.  

“The Bloomhill staff are compassionate and have a unique understanding of all cancer types, for clients of all ages. They not only take on you as a client, they care for your family through providing health services, advice, referrals and a supportive ear. Bloomhill understands that cancer not only affects the patient, it also affects the entire family unit, and the family unit must be supported through illness and recovery. I am able to take my two sons to Bloomhill for my appointments; a Bloomhill volunteer will care for my children while I have my nursing, counselling or acupuncture appointment.   

“The staff have TIME- which is a major advantage. They have the skills, ability and time to carefully listen to what you need and provide you with a skilled comprehensive plan.” 

Just 16 months on from surgery and Sally is doing well and has returned to work part-time. “I’m enjoying my new life with a new perspective. I still have symptoms that I need to manage, although those are reducing all of the time. I am now passionate about helping other parents and families to optimise their cancer recovery through improved Services. Life is great, and I am blessed to be in a fortunate position- sharing my story to help others.” 

We look forward to working with Sally on a number of upcoming projects. To find out more about Ignite Talks - Conversations of Cancer head over to our event page