Star Throwers Stories and Testimonials
Below are just a few case studies and feedback we have received from both cancer patients and carers we have supported. We hope they help you understand the work we do and the impact it has. Most importantly, we hope they provide you with hope and positivity that you are never alone during your journey.
Please note that some of the case studies below are detailed and may be upsetting to some people.
If you are affected by cancer, whether as a patient or a carer, please contact us on 01953 423304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help.
- I would just like to say thank you for listening and giving help and support. When one feels alone and vulnerable and the establishment offers so few alternatives to cancer therapy, Star Throwers opens your eyes and gives hope. With your advice plus being positive, I have taken control. I look forward to seeing you all soon.
"Thank you and you team for all you great work, I'm starting to think I'm one of those lucky starfish that's been thrown back." - NR
"My Journey With Cancer - Around Christmas 2010 I started getting an increasing amount of headaches. This was very unusual for me as I have never suffered from headaches before but I put it down to having a highly stressful job.
Over the course of the next few months I had various tests carried out by my doctor but with no definitive findings. On the last Saturday in March, however, my condition significantly worsened and by Sunday it was so bad that my husband called out the paramedics who took me immediately to A&E.
There I had a CT scan which showed what was thought to be either an abscess or a tumour. I was taken immediately to Addenbrookes hospital for further investigation.
I saw the neurosurgeon on Monday afternoon who said that he was convinced it was a brain tumour and he would operate the next day. I was told Surgery went well and that they managed to remove every bit of tumour that they could see. However, we would need to wait for the histology results a week later to determine the type of tumour.
The following Thursday my family and I went back for the results. The neurosurgeon and an oncology nurse specialist then gave us the devastating news - it was a grade 4 glioma and I would almost certainly die from it. They said they would give me radiotherapy and chemotherapy, though, to try and make my life as comfortable and as long as possible.
I had radiotherapy every weekday for six weeks as well as taking a chemotherapy. When I finished the radiotherapy I had a month break before I went on to a higher dose of the chemotherapy.
In late June I had my first seizure and was admitted to hospital overnight. Two weeks later I had two seizures in two days. I had MRI scan in August and my consultant confirmed that the tumour was back, but this time there was no chance of surgery because it was growing deeper in my brain. He told me that he could change my chemotherapy regime but there was only a slim chance of it being successful.
It was at this point that I decided I had nothing to lose and started exploring treatments outside of the conventional medication that I was taking.
I contacted Henry Mannings at Star Throwers and in early October 2011 went, with my family, for a consultation. It was such a refreshing change, as instead of hearing that I was going to die Henry said to me, “What can we do to help keep you alive?”
He explained that there was some interesting research about a particular treatment which stated it increased the survival times of people with grade 4 gliomas. I also found a paper on Vitamin D and its benefits to the immune system very interesting. We also discussed some clinical trials which I might be eligible for.
The thing that struck me about Henry was his ability to explain things. He explained in such a way that I could understand it. We also talked about the latest research into ways of making your own immune system recognise cancer cells. It gave me hope that there is research and advances going on in the field of brain tumours that may one day result in a cure, even if it does not happen in my lifetime.
I have found it really useful having somebody ‘who knows his stuff’ to talk to about the availability and evidence for promising treatments that are not yet ‘conventional’ treatments. I trust him to always give me good advice and not to encourage me to take risks with my health. For example, just before Christmas I discussed with Henry a drug that a colleague from work had heard about on the radio, which is actually an anti-depressant but claimed there was good anecdotal evidence of its use in treating brain tumours. Henry advised me that this would not be an appropriate drug for me as I was still having seizures and one of the side effects of the drug is the increased likelihood of seizures. I would not have known this otherwise.
In January 2012 I had another MRI scan, which revealed the tumour had not only stopped growing but it had considerably reduced in size! I do not know whether this was down to the chemotherapy, or the treatments that Henry had recommended, but whatever it was it is working and since January I have been feeling better and better.
I am so grateful for all the support and treatment I have had from Addenbrookes, the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, the James Paget Hospital and my local GPs, but I am also a firm believer in the value of Dr Henry Mannings and Star Throwers’ work. I have phoned him on many occasions for advice or information about things that I feel I cannot ask my NHS consultant.
As well as making me aware of other possibilities that are out there, I have also found the support and pastoral care that Henry has given me really amazing. My cancer is far from defeated but Henry and Star Throwers as an organisation gave me hope at a time when I needed it most." - AHM
"When I first heard my son Chris had been diagnosed with brain cancer I could hardly believe it. Chris was only 27, and was on the final part of his training to become a solicitor. I was a divorced mother and he was my only child. It was all too horrible and enormous to comprehend. My immediate overwhelming concern was to support him and making sure that he knew I loved him. Nothing would ever alter that.
Soon, we were told that the tumour had invaded almost all parts of his brain. Eventually Chris had radiotherapy. We were told it wasn’t curative but it would give him the best chance to have a reasonable quality of life for as long as possible. No doctor felt confident enough to say exactly how long he had left although a consultant in London told us no more than 7 years.
After treatment, Chris and I decided to focus on maximizing the quality of his life and he decided he wanted to go on holiday. It took a lot of effort before he was physically and emotional ready to go anywhere far away but he worked hard on developing his body strength and building his confidence again. Cancer destroys much more than health. He ended up going to Australia for a year and told me he enjoyed every moment of it.
Sadly, within days of returning home he was taken to hospital in the middle of the night after collapsing. The local hospital told me to take him home saying that the tumour was active again and they could do little to help. When I got him home he couldn’t walk. At this point I had little hope left.
After 2 days, though, Chris recovered enough energy to make a phone call to Dr Henry Mannings at Star Throwers, who he had only briefly met before. By this time Chris looked like a man 3 times his age. He could only shuffle along slowly and was barely able to see more than shadows as the tumour had started to rob him of his sight. Dr Henry patiently listened to Chris and invited him to come to Star Throwers if he felt able to.
About two weeks after the call, with great effort we did make it to Star Throwers. Upon arrival Tina, the Nurse, Dr Henry and the meet and greet volunteers all came out to welcome Chris. I have never experienced such warmth, tenderness and understanding. For me it was as if some weight had been taken off my shoulders and I started to share some of the load. For Chris he had someone at Star Throwers who would answer all his questions, giving him as much time as he needed. Henry was very honest with Chris about his condition, but gave Chris vital hope. No matter how bad things were, Henry promised that Star Throwers would do all that could be done to make both Chris and myself feel a little better.
We ended up visiting Star Throwers many more times. Star Throwers gave Chris back some of the dignity his condition had taken from him. There at the kitchen table with a group of volunteers we managed to talk, laugh and have endless cups of tea and biscuits. For a while we managed to be ordinary people in a supportive community. They were difficult but treasured times.
The staff at Star Throwers would also look after Chris whilst I took a couple of hours off wandering in Norwich. I trusted them with my very ill son. Chris could also have time away from an anxious mother. He felt as if he was doing something for me as well. If he needed rest he could take it, as there was always someone there to care for him. He even had a massage a couple of times. I remember him saying how accepted it made him feel to be touched in massage.
We were able to have two months of Star Throwers’ support and compassion before sadly, Chris died on 5th March 2010. Even after his death, though, I still received genuine compassion and support from Henry and Tina.
That’s why Henry, Tina, the staff of Star Throwers and the charity itself will always be dear to my heart." -
"I visited Star Throwers at the beginning of July 2010. I came for a consultation with Dr Henry Mannings about my breast cancer and specifically about the availability of an immunotherapy treatment that I had done a great deal of research into.
Dr Mannings’ compassion, care and sincerity was very evident. After examining me Dr Mannings advised against the immunotherapy treatment, suggesting instead that the conventional route of mastectomy followed by radiotherapy plus aromatase inhibitors or Tamoxifen would likely give me a better chance of success.
Whilst I was at Star Throwers, Dr Mannings also spent time explaining the aims of the centre – to give advice, support etc not only to cancer patients but, just as importantly, to their carers and families.
Star Throwers is a very valuable haven for cancer patients as well as their carers. It is not at all daunting as some “clinics” can be, but very welcoming, as if going into an old friend’s home. No matter what treatment one has for cancer, Star Throwers has a valuable part to play in helping patients to feel “normal”. It was started by, and is run by, a doctor who puts his patients first.
Dr Mannings has considerable clinical experience as an oncologist but also can give a broader view on alternative and complementary treatments. I think, as a patient, it is essential to know about and be able to consider all possible options.
Overall I was very impressed with the whole concept, the atmosphere, the homely comfort, the staff of the centre, and their aims. I only regret that, if I should need such a facility, Dr Mannings and Star Throwers are too far away from my home. " - MG