The ChemoHero Story
ChemoHero founder Lisa Wallis was diagnosed with breast cancer the day after her 30th birthday in 2012. It was a massive shock for Lisa and her family; with so much uncertainty surrounding being diagnosed with cancer Lisa and her husband, Rob, were ill-prepared on the day of Lisa's first treatment.
Lisa found the side effects hard on her body. Still, with her close family and friends by her side, she completed her first course of treatment, radiotherapy and surgery.
During one of her first rounds of treatment, she witnessed one of our amazing nurses talking to a lady on her own in the waiting room. Lisa started thinking about how she could support someone starting treatment. Using her own treatment experiences and lots of research, she compiled a list of items that would help with the side effects of treatment and the time spent in the hospital.
In November 2014, ChemoHero became a reality, a donation from her student's Christmas Market at Petroc College funded the items for the first batch of boxes. Lisa and Rob packed them in their front room and spent evenings and weekends delivering them to people they had heard were receiving chemotherapy treatment.
In 2015 Lisa's cancer returned. This time in her bones, her determination to support newly diagnosed patients never stopped, and she continued to grow the charity while receiving treatment for her cancer.
In 2016 ChemoHero Lisa, her team of volunteers and the local community helped raise the required £5000 to become a registered charity in England and Wales.
Becoming registered was a real boost. Soon news about this small local charity grew. A local business called Boden Group offered space at their industrial unit for ChemoHero to store all the box items and created an area to pack up their boxes of kindness.
Soon the nurses from the cancer unit at the North Devon Hospital offered to give the boxes of kindness out to patients on their first treatment. Now everyone starting chemotherapy treatment in the Seamoor unit would be gifted a ChemoHero box.
Our supporters have fundraised tirelessly over the years. With their help, we have now gifted over two thousand boxes of kindness to those starting treatment in North Devon, making their treatment a little kinder.
Sadly, in August 2021, Lisa passed away nine years after her original diagnosis. In those nine years, she has shown incredible desire and determination to create something unique that will continue to support those people starting their chemotherapy journey for a very long time.
Lisa's son Stanley helped come up with the name ChemoHero.
"Mummy, your the chemo and I'm the hero for helping you find your cancer."
Stanley who was three years old at the time was climbing over Lisa one evening before bed and stepped on Lisa's breast which made her aware that she had a lump.