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Roger takes on ‘the Beast’ to thank hospital for wife’s breast cancer support

Roger takes on ‘the Beast’ to thank hospital for wife’s breast cancer support

Roger and Pauline outside the Fern Centre at North Devon District Hospital.

A Braunton man is preparing to abseil one of the biggest cliffs in North Devon to say thank you for the care his wife received while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Roger D’Rane has registered to take part in the Berry Beast Abseil being organised by Royal Devon Hospitals Charity on Sunday, August 4.

He’ll be descending the 180ft sheer cliff face of Berry, near Hartland, nearly two years after wife Pauline was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

He said he wanted to take on the challenge in honour of Pauline and many others like her, as well as all the clinicians, specialist breast care nurses, support workers and volunteers who supported her during her treatment.

“Pauline had to be very brave and now it’s my turn,” said Roger, 70.

“She was looked after by a wonderful team at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E), and has had support from the Fern Centre, the cancer wellbeing centre at NDDH, as well as Force at the RD&E.

“Both have been comforting and calming refuges for Pauline and and continue to be so.”

Roger outside the Fern Centre

Pauline, also 70, said her ‘whole life changed’ following her diagnosis in October 2022.

“I am rarely overwhelmed but hearing the words ‘cancer’, ‘possible mastectomy’, ‘surgery’, ‘treatment’, and even ‘tattoos’, had a profound effect on me,” she said.

“I was a healthy 68-year-old, happily enjoying a lovely yet simple life with Roger, here in beautiful North Devon, but those words seemed to put my whole life on hold.

“Last year was a long year but I was looked after by a wonderful team of clinicians, every step of the way.”

Pauline said the Fern Centre has been an ‘invaluable’ support following her treatment.

“After nearly a year of appointments, you suddenly have time to start rebuilding your life, albeit a life of adjustment, and the Fern Centre has helped me to move forward on my journey.

“It’s a welcoming hub of information and support delivered by a lovely team, and it has been wonderful to meet other people, share our thoughts and experiences and know that we are not alone.

“I am so grateful for the care, support and opportunities that have been afforded to me, through a very difficult time. Without it, both Roger and I would not be in the positive place we are today.”

>>> Read more about Pauline’s story here >>>
Berry Cliff, near Hartland in North Devon.

Josh Allan, fundraising manger for Royal Devon Hospitals Charity (formerly known as Over and Above), said there were still places available for anyone wanting to join Roger on the Berry Beast Abseil.

“This really is a super challenge that’ll take your breath away like no other, but you’ll be in safe hands thanks to the awesome team from Skern Lodge Activity Centre,” said Josh.

“It’s the perfect opportunity tackle these majestic cliffs, enjoy stunning views across the Atlantic and raise funds for our NHS in North Devon.

“Booking is essential as this event is always popular and we only have 24 spaces available.” Registration is £25 per person, with a suggested sponsorship target of £100. Call the fundraising team on 01271 311772 or click here.

If you’d like to sponsor Roger, you can do so here.

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