We love hearing about your experience with the Foundation. Below are some of the fantastic comments that we have received. If you would like to add to this page please email email@example.com
My name is Maria Dawson and on 23rd February 2023 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 30 years old. I had two surgeries to remove the tumour, they also took some lymph nodes from under my arm and did a biopsy to try and see if there was any sign of the cancer spreading. The biopsy was thankfully clear. I then had 19 rounds of radiotherapy and now receive two long-term hormone treatments to hopefully prevent the cancer from returning.
The surgeries (along with two additional surgeries I had for fertility preservation) left me with a 20 cm scar under my left arm/breast and meant that I wasn’t able to do any physical activity for the best part of six months! At that point I then had the radiotherapy that made my skin and scar very tight and uncomfortable and I have had to do constant physiotherapy to try and get my full range of movement back.
I decided to start attending the Sunday yoga classes that the Hannah Whitley Foundation put on in Alderley Edge. It was amazing to be able to get back to being physical, the yoga teacher Clare ensured that she incorporated movements that I’d be able to do, plus stretches that would help with my recovery. I have felt so much happier being able to build up my ability week on week and get back to feeling somewhat ‘normal’, it is such a supportive environment and I really look forward to being there.
The classes are also great for the mind. I went through a very traumatic time last year and I find the classes so helpful in working through some of these emotions. When you are on the mat it is alone time with yourself to reflect inwardly and that has been so valuable.
I first met Han through my best friend Chelsea as they worked together. I joined them on a work night out and remember Han being so friendly and dancing with her. She was always so much fun and a carefree person to be around. It was Han who introduced us to meditation and yoga and we would often go to classes with her. She never seemed to take life too seriously and was always laughing.
I have been attending the charity classes on and off over several years, but I feel like the past few months have been when I have needed them the most!
Before my treatment I was very active, I have always enjoyed going to the gym and using weights, I also did loads of running. The surgery (specifically removal of the lymph nodes) meant that I wasn’t able to do this and I have had to build back up gradually, which the yoga has helped immensely with.
I felt like I struggled with body confidence as part of my recovery. All of a sudden, I had this big scar and things didn’t look the same as before. I have found the yoga has helped build that confidence back up.
“I cannot find words to express my gratitude for your constant gentle guide through my most challenging time of my life. I would have not been able to survive without your help. Your service, your commitment, but most of all your compassion and humanity shines through every single move you make. Thank you a thousand times and more.”
“When you get cancer you lose trust in your own body, confidence and getting back on track. Finding Clare at Yoga On The Edge through The Hannah Whitley Foundation opened a big door. Through small yoga moves, you can start to rebuild that strength in mind and body.
“Joining the Hannah Whitley group every Sunday morning has become my special yoga church! Clare – the teacher – does a lot of fundraising for The Christie and Maggie’s Centres. She cares and understands. The group is a caring, positive vibe with restorative moves and tea and chat. Thanks to Nicky for starting the Hannah Whitley foundation. Yoga can help you heal!”
“I have recently been introduced to this safe haven every Sunday at 12:30 via The Hannah Whitley foundation. What a welcome I received and I so look forward to it each week. All little angels helping each other cope in one way or another, after loss or trauma going on in their lives. The archangels – founder Nicki who wants to give back and help others, our very elegant teacher Clare giving up her own time, and also not forgetting the lovely Janet on hand to help. The peace, tranquility and love in that room is a beautiful space to be in. If anyone needs support or help in difficult times this is the only place you need to be to gain strength, support and relaxation with kind and caring people.”
“The restorative yoga session on a Sunday morning is the highlight of my week. I’ve benefited so much from the practice, delivered by the wonderful Clare, in the most relaxing and secure environment. Whether we are mid-flow doing yoga or having a relaxing tea at the end, Clare empathises with all of us – listening to our often traumatic stories and mopping up our tears! It’s a very non-competitive yoga class where we feel a great affinity with each other. Hannah would be so proud of her lovely mum Nicki, who set up the charity and to which we gladly donate. I’m so grateful to both her and Clare for what they so generously offer.”
“I was recommended to The Hannah Whitney Yoga by a close friend as a safe place to come and relax, switch off and connect with my emotions. I have taken great comfort from Clare and her restorative yoga and from sharing my personal experience with like-minded people who are on their own personal journey. It’s my favourite hour of the week!”
“I really enjoyed the class and meeting you. I so wish we were more local!”
“So relaxing and good for the body and mind. I enjoyed it so much.”
“It’s so amazing how you just came into my life at this moment in time. I feel very lucky having this support to deal with my grief this time round.”
“The restorative yoga session on a Sunday morning is the highlight of my week. I’ve benefited so much from the practice, delivered by the wonderful Clare in the most relaxing and secure environment. Whether we are mid-flow doing yoga or having a relaxing tea at the end, Clare empathises with all of us – listening to our often traumatic stories and mopping up our tears! It’s a very non-competitive yoga class where we feel a great affinity with each other. Hannah would be so proud of her lovely mum, Nikki, who set up the charity and to which we gladly donate. I’m so grateful to both her and Clare for what they so generously offer.”
“I discovered this very special foundation in my councillor’s waiting room. A flyer caught my eye and it was just what I had been looking for. I had sought counselling following the death of my beloved father and knew that I was going to need something more than just talking to see me through. It’s funny how life sometimes just plants what you need, right at your feet.
“I contacted the Foundation and Nicki responded swiftly and with real warmth and compassion, sending me her condolences and inviting me along to the next session. Once there I found a group of people ready to welcome me and include me. We were given mats, blocks and blankets. The room was lit by candles and oils were diffused through the air. Pictures of Nicki’s daughter Hannah were set on the floor. Then Jane, the yoga teacher, confidently talked us through a gentle, restorative, and comforting yoga session. We were guided with positive affirmations and mantras. With reassurance and a smile we were helped into and out of any pose that got a bit tricky. These yoga classes have been a real treat at the end of the weekend and always set me up for the week ahead. Jane and Nicki are two very special ladies and they are putting something very special out into the world. I’m so grateful for the welcome, the guidance, and the care they have given to me during these first few months of grief.”
“Valley School school caters to some of the most complex children and their families in Stockport. Nicki and John first came to our school pamper morning in Jan 18. Since then we have made a lovely bond with them and they have offered parents a block session of yoga and meditation.
Nicki’s warmth and openness combined with John’s naturally serene essence created a beautiful safe and sacred space for parents to dedicate time – if only for a while – on themselves.
Combining breathing techniques and postures, parents were able to tap into their inner calm and given the time to just ‘be’. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have connected in the emotion arising from the songs at the end, and we have listened intently to John’s stories all whilst breathing in the familiar lemongrass scent.
Thank you Hannah Whitley Foundation for creating a beautiful space for our parents to relax and unwind. It is truly appreciated and you do a wonderful job.”
Jennie Everhard, Family Liaison Worker, Valley School