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Q&A with Sarah Moss from Breast Cancer Haven

Posted: by Jo Friday, 29 June 2018 @ 11:31

Inspired to be my best self: role models and heroes 

This year, in our quest to step up and be our best selves, we wanted to talk to truly remarkable women, to find out if they have a mantra for life; and learn what motivates them.

We are absolutely thrilled to talk to Sarah Moss from Breast Cancer Haven for our series of talks with truly inspiring women. Sarah manages the new Breast Cancer Haven Centre for the West Midlands, based in Solihull, following a career in cancer nursing for the NHS. She has helped so many women throughout her career, making a real difference to people’s lives.

I asked Sarah to tell us a little bit about her background.

Since qualifying as a nurse in 2001, I have had various roles within cancer care. I have spent most of my working life in clinical trials and haematology nursing.

The beautiful thing about working in clinical trials is that you are with the patient from the moment of diagnosis, all the way through to discharge – present at any clinic visits they have, and a constant presence when they are admitted to hospital. I would become close to the patients and their wider support networks, which gave me a huge insight into what people really want when living with a cancer diagnosis. Although I would do my best, and give them everything I could – I always felt there was something missing.

Always described as ‘alternative’ by my colleagues and friends, it was no surprise when I became very interested in how holistic therapies can transform the life of someone dealing with the emotional, physical and economic changes to their existence. When I changed allegiances from haematology to breast cancer, I became aware of Breast Cancer Haven, and I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do.

In 2016 I heard that they were planning a centre in the West Midlands, so I started learning as much as I could about the charity – how many people would benefit, how the therapies they offer could benefit our patients… After 12 months of hounding, they gave me the Manager’s role for the West Midlands centre!

Tell us about the new Breast Cancer Haven Centre.

It is a truly wonderful thing to see the change in our visitors from the moment they walk through the door. They know this is a safe place, they don’t need to pretend to be something they aren’t. We can help them to get back to who they really are, after a diagnosis has taken something away.

They receive 10 hours of free one-to-one therapies, which are personally tailored to them, as well as access to me at any point. As we are still very new, the programme of groups and classes available is constantly evolving to meet the needs of our local population.

Since opening in October 2017, we have helped over 350 people, and have delivered around 1500 hours of therapies.

And a little about you personally?

I balance full time work with having 3 sons, 2 dogs, a step daughter and grandson. I try to do something every year that scares me. Last year, white collar boxing, this year, a sky dive. And I practise mindfulness whenever I get a free moment.

Sarah Moss from Breast Cancer Haven with Team Mantra

Q&A with Sarah

I was very keen to find out from Sarah about what motivates her, and who she admires.

Do you have a mantra you live your life by?

I have a few:

Do no harm but take no sh*t.

Live life the way you want to – you only get one.

Tell those you love, that you love them and don’t ever take it for granted that you can.

What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?

I have always been very sure of my own mind, so whenever I’ve been told to ‘get back in my box’, it’s been a bit of a red rag to a bull. I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you happy, and if you can help others on this mission, then all the better for it. No one knows my mind better than me, so if they don’t believe in me, it doesn’t matter, because I believe in myself.

How important have role models been to you?

Growing up in the 80’s, there was no shortage of strong women saying what they wanted, this had a profound effect on me and how I approach life. My mother always felt that she missed opportunities growing up, so I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.

When you were young, who were your role models or people you truly admired?

The first I remember was Kylie Minogue in Neighbours. A strong (bolshie) young female who was comfortable in her own skin, I loved the fact she pushed against the norm and wasn’t afraid to speak her own mind. I know she was only a character – but she was a huge influence on a young impressionable girl.

And as your career has progressed - who inspires you now?

As I have grown into who I am today, I would say my biggest inspirations have been the people I have come into contact with as their nurse.

People struggling to cope with pain, and suffering, and sadness, but still keeping on. One in particular stands out.

She was a 27 year old nun, who had a horrible disease and was on an awful chemotherapy regimen. She was the youngest patient on the ward by at least 15 years, and probably the sickest. She spent all of her time, when not confined by her own treatment, sitting by the bedsides of the other patients, making sure they were comfortable and ensuring they were heard. She always had a smile, and never complained, even when she was in lots of pain. For me, she was the strongest and most beautiful soul I have ever had the privilege to meet. I still think of her often even 17 years on, and I thank her for inspiring me to always try and bring light to those who are in dark places.

And who, now, would you say is an inspiring figure on the world stage?

15% off Open Heart NecklaceMalala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama. And Emma Watson is becoming a very powerful voice for younger women.

Sarah’s Mantra

We have picked the Mantra necklace that we feel represents what inspires and motivates Sarah.

We chose ‘Love with an open heart’, as Sarah is a powerful advocate for opening yourself up to people and showing how much you care.

This month, buy our ‘Love with an open heart’ Mantra necklace at 15% off.



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