TV presenter's battle against cancer

By Rachel RicksTELEVISION weathergirl Fiona Farrell has told of how she and her husband have both bravely fought against cancer.Mrs Farrell appeared to have it all - she was an ITV weather forecaster and appeared regularly on GMTV and London Tonight, as well as having a loving husband, Brian, and son, Brett, to share her Hatfield Peverel home.

By Rachel Ricks

TELEVISION weathergirl Fiona Farrell has told of how she and her husband have both bravely fought against cancer.

Mrs Farrell appeared to have it all - she was an ITV weather forecaster and appeared regularly on GMTV and London Tonight, as well as having a loving husband, Brian, and son, Brett, to share her Hatfield Peverel home.

But her life has not been without its trials. Seven-year-old Brett has autism and both Mrs Farrell and her husband have been fighting a battle against cancer.


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Mr Farrell, 48, was still reeling from being diagnosed with throat cancer when his wife was told in November 2002 she had breast cancer.

Mrs Farrell, 43, said: “He'd been so strong and positive in spite of being in horrific pain. But then we received my diagnosis and he started to go downhill rapidly.

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“He was scared I was going to die. I was scared he was going to die and we both had to discuss what would happen to our little boy.”

Mrs Farrell underwent surgery for a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy. By December, her husband was in Colchester General Hospital with a severe infection.

“I thought this was it, I would never see him again. But the bottom line is you cannot feel sorry for yourself because you still have to go on living,” she said.

Mr Farrell is now in remission, although he still attends regular check-ups, and his wife was given the all clear six weeks ago.

Mrs Farrell believes the strong partnership with her husband has helped them through their battles against cancer, as well as support from all their nurses, family and friends.

She was speaking yesterday to help boost the work of the Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre in Chelmsford, which has just carried out is 3,000th treatment.

The centre was set up in memory of the BBC sports presenter, who died of cancer in 1999, and offers complementary therapies in association with a patient's traditional treatment plan.

“It's wonderful that such a place like this exists. When you are diagnosed with cancer, it's the worst thing in the world, you're obviously rigid with fear,” said Mrs Farrell.

“So it's nice to be able to come to a place like this where you can relax and feel better about yourself.

“It's a lovely peaceful haven - the décor is very serene and the gardens are so beautiful too. It's a very happy place, not full of doom and gloom normally associated with cancer.

“It also helps to meet other people experiencing the same thing as you. I've met some amazing people here.”

Skilled professionals at the centre provide aromatherapy massage, reflexology and manual lymphatic drainage to prevent swollen limbs developing through fluid build-up after a lymph node has been removed.

The treatments are free, with the option to make a donation. The centre, which opened its doors in 2002, is financed entirely by contributions from the public and through fundraisers.

Mrs Farrell had about four treatments and said: “It helped me feel much more positive about myself. In fact, I found it so inspiring that I decided to train myself in this field.”

She is now studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in complementary medicine at Anglia Polytechnic University.

Mrs Farrell also intends to get back to her television work, but once she passes her degree, she aims to start offering therapies in places such as the Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre.

“I'd like to give back the kind of treatment I was offered because I know what they have been through,” she said.

n To make a donation to Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre Appeal, contact 01245 513350.

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