Chapel-en-le-Frith woman living with cancer creating care packages for hospital patients

A Chapel-en-le-Frith woman living with secondary breast cancer has sent out hundreds of care packages to hospitals to help other cancer patients.

Demand for Gemma Ellis’ care packages for cancer patients admitted to hospital unexpectedly has soared and she is now shipping the free parcels to Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Scotland.

The 39-year-old said: “I was in and out of hospital before Christmas. I had brain surgery, caught covid then collapsed as I had fluid on my lungs.

"I was in hospital for much longer than I thought I was going to be and sometimes I didn’t know I was going to be admitted so hadn’t got anything with me.

Gemma Ellis has been making up care packages for hospital patients

"I felt bad always asking my husband, Ben, to keep coming up with things for me and it got me thinking.

"There must be so many people in my position who thought they were going for chemo and had a reaction and had to stay in and had nothing with them so I wanted to do something to help people.”

Gemma put the request out with an Amazon wishlist and says she has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity.

She said: “There aren’t many people who haven’t been affected by cancer and I know people want to help others so this is just an easy way for people to send a smile to others.

Gemma's daughters, Ruby and Scarlett helping with the packages

"The doorbell goes and there are just boxes and boxes of items people have donated turning up at my door.

"It’s amazing - I can’t believe how generous people have been.”

The care packages contain a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, tissues, soap and a flannel as well as a wordsearch and a pen.

So far 25 have gone to The Christie in Manchester, 50 to oncology in Sheffield, 50 to Queen’s Hospital in Derby and a hospital in Scotland has reached out to Gemma and asked for another 50 packs.

These parcels are on top of the care gift she sends out to other patients who also have secondary breast cancer as a bit of pick me up.

She added: “I like doing them, it keeps my brain working and it’s nice to do with my girls, Ruby and Scarlett.

"I’m really pleased the hospitals are asking for them. It means they must be making a difference."

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