Meet the team
Dr Louise Brown, Clinical Psychologist
Originally from North Cornwall, after leaving school, Louise trained as a nurse, before taking a degree in Psychology. Her interest in cancer was sparked by a placement on a haematology ward, and followed up by research for a Masters in Health Psychology, during which she researched the experiences of men diagnosed with testicular cancer before the age of 25.
After researching also into breast cancer follow up, and cancer patients from Guernsey treated away from home, she trained as a Clinical Psychologist, then worked in Derriford, variously with rehabilitation patients, obstetrics, gynaecology and cystic fibrosis, as well as teaching staff connected with oncology, and in the Pain Management Service at Torbay Hospital.
Now she considers herself fortunate to have the opportunity to work in Cornwall with people with cancer. With her training and experience in Clinical Psychology, she can carry out detailed, person-centred assessments to enable her to choose from a wide range of psychological interventions, tailored to someone’s needs. In this way the intervention fits the person, rather than the other way around. This is important for the teenager and young adult service where age-appropriate treatments, facilities, advice and support for patients and their carers and loved ones is paramount.
LARF funds Louise to support TYA patients and their families during their cancer journey for one to two days a week. For the rest of the week Louise works as the Macmillan Lead Psychologist at The Cove supporting adult patients.
Hannah Heayn – Teen and Young Adult Specialist Cancer Nurse
Hannah trained as a nurse, working in Accident and Emergency, and the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and developing an interest in children and young people. She became the Bereavement link nurse, and the Sudden Infant Death link nurse, working with bereaved families to support them through the dark times immediately after a loved one had died. She moved to become Sister of the Haematology war at Plymouth, and worked with Macmillan Cancer Support to set up the Teenagers and Young Adults service in Plymouth.
At the time, she was commuting from Truro, and jumped at the chance to take on the same role at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Although the service had existed for some time, it had been some months since there had been a specialist TYA Cancer Specialist Nurse, so Hannah effectively set up the service again from scratch.
Although going on maternity leave in August 2017, she will be back once her little one has arrived safely, and her absence will be ably covered by until her return.
Debbie Charles – Play Specialist
Debbie Charles, and have been working with LARF since its early days, and knew both Rosie and Lauren, working with them as they were receiving treatment on the oncology ward at RCHT. She says “It was a pleasure to see their friendship grow through many ups and downs. They always had a smile and enjoyed every minute of the time that was given to them, it was this that made me start to see what I could offer the families of children suffering with cancer.”
Her role, as Play Specialist, is to support the patients she works with through their treatment, in any way she can, to make their day even a little bit better. Her first event, working with LARF, was to take a group surfing at Crantock Beach, and she thoroughly enjoyed helping LARF in this way, seeing other children enjoy events like this, in the way that Rosie and Lauren had.
She has been busy tracking down attractions and venues throughout Cornwall to which groups of children can be taken, and successful events have included ice skating at the Eden Project, beach fun days, Easter and Christmas parties, meals for the older youngsters, and bowling. In essence, a time when the children and young people can simply be ‘normal’, with no illness, having fun with their families.
There is a regular monthly chat group for parents, which is invaluable for them, enabling them to meet with others who know what they’re going through.
To find more about Debbie’s work funded through LARF, see our ‘What we do’ page.