Former Macmillan nurse from Tynemouth tells of own cancer battle

Darryl Earnshaw, from Tynemouth, has told of the care she received while battling cancer

Former Macmillan nurse Darryl Earnshaw with husband Rod
Former Macmillan nurse Darryl Earnshaw with husband Rod

A former Macmillan Cancer Support nurse knew all too well the value of the care the charity could provide, but she never expected to be in need of it herself.

Darryl Earnshaw, 65, was diagnosed with breast cancer last November which left her unable to go over to America to visit her grandson who she had not seen since he was a newborn baby.

Darryl, who is now retired, was extremely grateful for the support she received from the care service she had once worked for.

She said: “I haven’t got a bad word to say about them. As a palliative care nurse myself, I automatically feared the worst when I heard the diagnosis. But the Macmillan nurses explained to me that I could survive it.”

The grandmother of five, from Tynemouth, had worked as a district nurse in Lancashire, but after doing some part-­time work for Marie Curie decided to do a diploma and then became a community nurse for Macmillan Cancer Support 15 years ago.

She said: “The work was so rewarding. It was very sad in palliative care of course but it really made me appreciate how precious life is and that you have to make the most of it.”

Moving to Tynemouth five years ago to be closer to her daughter, Darryl was very aware of the importance of having regular check ups with her doctor, and it was during a routine mammogram just over a year ago that the cancer was discovered.

She said: “It felt like a dream at first, I just couldn’t believe it. It was very upset by having to go through all this treatment and by the fact I wouldn’t be able to go to America to see my grandchild.”

The mother-of-three was forced to cancel her January trip to Memphis to visit her son and grandson, as well as a holiday to Italy with her husband, with whom she’s been married for 46 years.

There was better news recently though Darryl explained: “Thankfully, we were able to get over to America in October for a few weeks, so I have seen my grandson now. The only other time I’ve met him was when he was 11 weeks old.”

Macmillan Cancer Support still needs an extra £35,000 locally to meet their fundraising goal for 2013.

Darryl is totally behind this final fundraising drive and has nothing but praise for the charity that once employed her and has now helped her through such a difficult period of her life.

She said: “The Macmillan nurses have been super, and not just for me, but my family too. They’ve been so supportive, and comforted my daughter as well when she was upset.”

Macmillan Cancer Support Fundraising Manager, Erin Fairley, said: “There’s still a lot of money to raise. We just need one big last push before the new year.”

To make a donation you can visit or alternatively phone 0300 1000 200.


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