“I’m Sandra, a local Morley girl. I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May 2017 and given 12 months to live but six and a half years later, I’m still here!
“I first heard about Groundwork through a friend I used to work with who used to come to the art classes. She said there was lots of different activities, so I bobbed into reception to ask and found out about the woodwork. It was just something new as I’d never done any woodwork and I thought why not, you never know. I could try something new and meet new people. I’m not one to just sit in the house and mope around. To me, if you’ve got cancer, you keep doing as much as you can. It’s just a different adventure.
“I started coming to the ‘Women in Sheds’ on a Friday morning. I’ve been coming here for a couple of years and I’ve learnt to make planters, pigs, a pen, lots of different crafty things. After 12 weeks I was invited to join the Morley Shed and started coming on a Tuesday where I met a lovely group of people and carried on doing lots of different woodwork activities.
“It really helps my mental health, getting out of the house and having a break from everything, meeting lots of new people who help me through different situations.
“The people have mostly kept me coming back. You build up a friendship and you know that you can talk to somebody. I can talk to people here that I perhaps wouldn’t talk to in the family because they’re not connected but they’re all just very supportive. They’re like a second family and all came to my life celebration party that I had and they offer lots of support.
“In July this year, my cancer took a turn for the worst. I’ve been writing poems for a few years and people said I should write a book and I thought ‘yeah yeah, I’ve never written a book, I’m not too bothered.’ But I got told that I probably won’t be here at Christmas and I thought that if I didn’t write my poetry book, I never will. So I started to put it all together and decided who to donate the money to.
“I wrote a book two years ago, a children’s book, and that all went to cancer. I decided that this book would go to the woodwork group, The Morley Shed because they’ve just been such a lifesaving group for me and have helped me through so much. So I wrote ‘My Fantastic Life With Cancer’ which is all poems I’ve written in the last six years and there’s even one about the shed.
“The book’s got lots of different poems about Covid, Christmas, farting, my friends, different pubs in Morley. Every penny is going towards The Morley Shed to help keep them going to help lots of other people like myself. I’d like the book to become made more aware of and sell as many as we can to raise funds for the shed. I wrote it and I’m really proud of it. There’s even pictures of my family in the middle.
“It’s not a morbid book. It’s not about death and there’s things in it that are quite funny and will make people laugh. I was in hospital last with week with pneumonia and there were some people on the ward who had just got cancer and they said it gave them quite a lot of hope as well because I’ve outlived my expectations by a long shot. I’m determined to be here at Christmas, hopefully. That’s the next chapter of my life.”