Maureen Helm

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in early November at age 59.

We, my husband Robert and I and two of our 4 adult children had moved from New Zealand to Kalgoorlie eight years previously. Our two sons working away in Western Australia in the mining industry. We Had two daughters, one back in New Zealand and the other in Fiji at the time. My husband Robert, a Miner, was my main caregiver.

I recovered from the surgery really well and started chemotherapy in mid December this meant an arduous 6 hour plus trip from Kalgoorlie every 3 weeks to attend the private hospital clinic in Perth.

It would take approximately 10 days to recover from each round of chemo and then I’d have to face the trip by road from Kalgoorlie and back again so my husband could go to work.

This along with my body deciding not to make red blood cells ensured I had no energy to do anything at home except sleep and rest. The rare times when I felt motivated to prepare a meal it took so long and made me even more exhausted than I had been before. The housework and meal preparation fell to Robert before or after working his 12 hour day.

In the following February, my chemo regime changed to weekly chemo so I stayed at Crawford Lodge in Perth. And again in May when I began having daily Radiotherapy sessions. This provided some respite for Robert he would fly back and forth between Perth and Kalgoorlie, managing to do what he could at home then coming to help me on his days off.

It was here we made contact with Miners’ Promise. An organisation that although we were aware of and had read about, we hadn’t realised just how extensive their support is for resources employees and their immediate families.

My first contact was with Helen Fitzroy who had written about her harrowing experiences following the tragic death of her husband. The book “Just a Number” had been sent out by Miners’ Promise.

With Miners’ Promise, we had access to a wide range of practical and emotional support and services to help us with my journey through treatment and recovery. What a relief to discover Miners’ Promise.  A godsend at a difficult time!

The regular contact and calls and texts from Miners’ Promise also helped me to cope with being home alone during the day and gave me someone to look forward to talking with.

It’s now nearly three years since this part of our journey began, I still get calls and texts from our Miners’ Promise Family Support Advisor. The contact is certainly appreciated.

Our hope is that everyone who experiences crisis, has Miners’ Promise by their side.

Maureen & Robert Helm