WHEN Ingrid Kiel-Monaghan was diagnosed with cancer, it turned her world upside down.
The Subiaco resident had an aggressive breast cancer discovered in November 2016.
She went straight into surgery, where another tumour was found.
At the start of her radiation treatment, after four months of chemotherapy, she found out about Solaris Cancer Care.
Stepping into one of their centres takes patients into a place separate from intensive medical treatment, prognoses and clinics.
“It was a godsend,” Ms Kiel-Monaghan said.
“There are some incredibly compassionate people around you; it’s helped me beyond words, and I’m one of many.”
All cancer patients and carers can access free complementary therapies, supportive care and activities, browse the library, or simply take time out to relax at centres attached to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and St John of God Subiaco Hospital (SJOG) or Solaris’ Cottesloe centre.
“It’s a little sanctuary; you can focus on self preservation,” Ms Kiel-Monaghan said.
“Your doctors and specialists are incredible people, but they only have time for direct treatment.”
Senior client services manager at the SJOG Solaris centre Alison Hooper was previously an oncology nurse, and recalled what extra support around treatment used to be like for cancer patients.
“People used to get a newspaper and that was it,” she said.
Solaris provides support to around 8000 cancer patients and carers per year, delivering $1 million worth of therapies free of charge.
This year, the amount of money they have raised is not enough to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the organisation; there has been a shortfall of $200,000.
The charity is currently holding a ‘May We Survive and Thrive’ campaign to boost their coffers, aiming to raise at least half of the funds required in May.
“A lot of people used to think we were government funded, but no, we raise the money ourselves,” Ms Hooper said.
“I’m humbled by the amount of people giving.”