Cancer sufferer sets up charity providing ‘treatment bags’ to soothe chemo side effects

Maymie White, 50, was diagnosed with lymphoma – a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system – in 2017. As part of her treatment, Maymie underwent both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which caused her to suffer a number of extremely unpleasant side effects. After discovering certain products which helped her through her treatment, Maymie decided to set up a charity to help other cancer sufferers going through the same experience. So in April 2018, Maymie and fellow cancer victim Lisa Dennis founded The Treatment Bag.

The chemo was tough, I’m not going to lie. It does things to your body which none of us would choose to put ourselves through

Maymie White

The Treatment Bag supplies chemo and radiotherapy patients with a ‘bag of treats’ containing products which can help to alleviate the side effects of treatment, in return for a donation.

Maymie and Lisa researched what chemo patients really value during and after treatment.

The most cherished products were skin and mouth care, as well as products to keep warm and avoid patients having to cook.

Products in the treatment bags include MONUSKIN recovery balm, to relieve the dry and sensitive skin that cancer treatments can cause, and FUEL ready-made porridge pots, to provide patients an easy breakfast fix in the mornings.

Other products include Deep Sleep Pillow Spray by This Works, a lavender pillow spray to help patients get to sleep – difficulty sleeping is a side effect of chemo – and a hat and scarf to keep patients warm.

Another common side effect of chemo and radiotherapy is a chemical taste in the mouth, alongside a painful, dry and sore mouth.

To alleviate this side effect, The Treatment Bag offers Grether’s Pastilles – mouth and throat lozenges which Maymie says helped soothe the nasty mouth side effects she was experiencing during treatment.

“The chemo was tough, I’m not going to lie. It does things to your body which none of us would choose to put ourselves through,” said Maymie.

“My mouth really suffered. To explain, chemo and radiotherapy are designed to kill rapidly growing cells.

“The destruction chemo wreaks on the mouth makes it difficult for the cells to repair themselves, to heal and to keep germs at bay.

“In my case, this resulted in a very sensitive and painful mouth and I was worried it would lead to infections.

“As if that wasn’t bad enough I also felt, and often was, really sick – so nauseous that I didn’t feel like eating anything. Water was about the limit at its worst. Again, this had an adverse effect on my mouth.”

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“One day a friend visited – she brought with her some Grether’s Pastilles as she had heard that they were very gentle and sugar free (I gave up sugar a year or so before my diagnosis).

“They really hit the spot for me. They look great, helped me with my painful mouth and were just the right side of tasty – not too strong.

“I continued to buy them right through my treatment and they have been a life saver. I guess not literally, but at least a mouth saver!”

The Treatment Bag is entirely run by volunteers who help research, wrap and pack the bags.

To find out more or to donate a treatment bag, visit The Treatment Bag website.

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