I approached Hilary for some help with an important power-point presentation for a job interview. I had been dreading the day of the interview which inevitably loomed nearer and nearer. What really impressed me is the way Hilary calmly talked me through the background of what I was currently doing, why I was going for the new position, and what expectations there were from my presentation. After I had talked through the interview process and the presentation I was really worried Hilary would get bored. My line of work can be full of jargon and complicated. Hilary genuinely understood what I was talking about, and gave me some of her personal experiences and empowerment to approach the interview with real belief in myself. I think the ability to give someone confidence and self belief is a really special gift that cannot be taught, acquired or put upon someone.

I was really taken aback when Hilary suggested we go shopping and find some interview clothes. This is something I had not considered. I have had previous shopping trips in Manchester and Bristol and had found nothing at all. I thought I would just put up with the poor clothes choices I had been wearing. I really approached the shopping trip with an open mind and was determined to try as many suggestions as possible. Going out of my comfort zone, which can be difficult when you lack confidence and find shopping an ordeal. I cannot describe the tremendous relief when we really quickly found something to wear. However, this was not to be “the clothes”, there was better to come. Again we really quickly found something that flattered and suited my shape. I couldn’t help smiling when we found this dress. It was different, smart, and “interview clothes”. Hurray at last, after years of searching… a miracle!

I really believe Hilary cared and considered very carefully how I looked. At no point did this day feel a chore, a nuisance or something boring. I have  previously had a “personal shopper experience” and found it upsetting, humiliating and not a pleasant experience at all. It was a bored shop assistant who just kept saying” just keep trying clothes on” which reinforces in you that nothing will look nice.

On a personal level this is something that has touched my heart. Hilary spent time, energy, patience and perseverance helping me to achieve my goals.

Tracey L (Taunton, Somerset)

jean personal shopI really was grateful for the help Hilary gave me when I needed a special outfit for my son’s wedding. It was so good to go shopping with someone who knew exactly where to go.  I have never had such a quick and successful shopping trip in my life, and to have someone with me who could honestly comment on what looked good or not was fantastic.

Jean B (Exeter, Devon)

Hilary’s tlc helped me through breast cancer

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2008 and the news came as a bolt out of the blue. I instructed my surgeon to perform a mastectomy operation and, after meeting with the Oncologist, I would commence chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy treatment in the New Year.

I considered I had always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle and was determined to be a survivor but I knew of nobody in my immediate circle who had experienced breast cancer. A work colleague kindly offered me the chance to talk with her sister who lived in Somerset. I welcomed the opportunity to talk, especially as I had no knowledge of what chemotherapy entailed and it was fantastic to learn that she had survived the journey on which I was about to embark.

Hilary is the sister of my colleague and it was a great relief to talk to someone who could enlighten me on her experience of the treatment itself and the possible side effects I may encounter. My main fear, which I guess is a major one for many, was the fact my hair would fall out and I may suffer sickness from the chemotherapy treatment. I am pleased to report that apart from attending the hospital on a Friday for my chemotherapy treatment and taking things easy over the weekend, I was able to return to my office desk the following Monday. In fact I continued to work during both my chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments and the only concession I made was the fact that I left my bicycle at home for the three mile round trip to my place of work and drove the car instead. I strongly believe my talks with Hilary convinced me I could continue a normal life after the diagnosis and during the months of my treatments. I was truly inspired by the fact Hilary continued to lead her keep fit sessions throughout her treatment. She giggled when she told me stories of being famous for wearing brightly coloured scarves covering her bald head whilst fronting her keep fit classes!!!!

I welcomed the opportunity to meet Hilary in person when my husband and I attended her sister’s (my friend and work colleague) wedding in Leicestershire in July 2011. Hilary is part of a large family who are close knit and are naturals when it comes to helping others.

Hilary’s approach to life inspired me and proved to me that a positive approach to cancer goes a long way towards winning the battle. Thank you Hilary!

Sandy B (Leicestershire)