THE TRUST that bears Sara Lee’s name has helped hundreds of people in Hastings and Rother suffering with cancer and life-threatening illnesses, Sara’s experience inspired the charity and patients say it has a massive impact on the quality of their life.
Anyone who has suffered a serious or life-threatening illness understands how gruelling the endless round of hospital and doctors appointments can be.
The normal routine of everyday life is rapidly replaced, often with many blood tests, biopsies and scans, accompanied with medication and treatments that can leave the body either racked with pain or totally exhausted and enough to drain the human spirit beyond recognition.
Sara Lee, whilst dealing with her own experience of cancer, recognised the importance of diet and spiritual well-being.
Sara’s mum Sally said her daughter visited a clinic in Bristol where she received counselling and moral support, dietary advice and some treatments, adding: “She got a lot of support from them but then she could afford it because she was working.
“Sara then met a healer and aromatherapist who pretty much got her through everything - plus, one of Sara’s big things was she took on the Bristol diet which she felt was very self empowering because it wasn’t being imposed on her.”
Sally said her daughter realised the benefits of the alternative treatments she received.
“Sara said to us, well its all very well because I can afford to have the treatments - it was also very difficult to find somebody - and said it would be absolutely marvellous if we could set something up that was all in one place and didn’t have to pay for it.
“So that was really the beginnings of it.”
Sally said friends at Sara’s funeral were determined to do something.
“They produced a leaflet that said this is the idea, we are going to set up a trust that will probably be something to do with complimentary therapy.”
They asked for donations and Sally said initially they thought they may have enough to buy a couch for St Michaels but the donations went way beyond what they had hoped for. She said: “We got absolutely thousands.”
St Michaels Hospice was approached and Sally said both the matron and the physiotherapist was immensely keen on complimentary therapy and Jeremy Lee became medical director, which Sally said: “It couldn’t have been a better set up really.”
Sally Lee is President and Founder of the Sara Lee Trust.
Her achievements with the charity lead to her being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
Sally said: “I am very honoured to receive this medal but it is really for all the people in the Sara Lee Trust who have supported me over the last seventeen years.”