Cancer survivor raises money to empower others with the disease
Cheers, drumming and singing broke out at Shelly Bay yesterday as a cancer survivor came ashore from a charity swim to empower others battling the disease.
Nina London had told the gathering of friends: “To life, joy and happiness” before taking to the water just after noon.
Darlene Phillips, fundraising chairwoman of the cancer charity Pals, said Ms London had created the fundraiser on her own to support a new class for cancer patients.
She added: “This is the first time I have met her in person – but what high energy.”
Ms London swam 2km in laps off the Hamilton Parish beach in aid of a Pals class that will help cancer patients cope with the impact of treatment on their appearance.
Ms Phillips said her fundraising had “good support”, with Ms London already looking forward to continuing it next year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many fundraisers – but Ms London’s initiative had the advantage of being outdoors.
Her husband, Bill, watching from the shore, described his shock when she called with her diagnosis of uterine cancer, just before they were married five years ago – urging him to call their wedding off.
“She didn’t want to put a burden on me,” he recalled.
“But I just wasn’t going to accept that.”
He said Ms London, a life coach and women’s counsellor, kept working and was soon swimming again, despite the harsh impact of chemotherapy and radiation.
The upcoming Pals class is aimed at teaching cancer patients to overcome side effects such as hair loss, which can worsen the psychological impact of treatment.
Mr London added that he wished cold cap therapy, a treatment available in some hospitals to lessen hair loss from cancer treatment, was available on the island.
He added: “Making women feel better is something she has been doing for her entire professional life.
“This is an extension of that philosophy.”
Five years on, Ms London is classed as cancer free.
Singer Joy Barnum, recovering from breast cancer treatment, sang Still I Rise by Yolanda Adams after Ms London came ashore.
The all women percussion group Coral Beats kept the rhythm going during the swim, and Ms London joined them after pausing on the sand.
“I feel fantastic,” she said.
To contribute to Ms London’s fundraiser or support Pals, go to the charity’s website here.