Laraine and husband David planned the trip-of-a-lifetime in February, flying to Tokyo, then Sydney and Perth as a celebration of Laraine’s health and to mark a special birthday.

The highlight of the trip was the gruelling two-hour walk across the harbour bridge. But she insisted none of this would have been possible without the support and the lymphoedema treatment she received from staff at South Bucks Hospice.

And Laraine, a former city bond trader from Gerrards Cross, was thrilled to contact the team at South Bucks Hospice from Australia in March to exclaim: “I did it!”

She added: “Wow, what an incredible experience climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge was – it was genuinely an experience of a lifetime. I can’t say I was not scared, especially when we got to the summit in the howling wind.

“Given the steep ladders I had to climb up and down, and the pressure I had to exert, it would not have been possible without the wonderful lymphoedema treatment I received at South Bucks Hospice.

“If anyone would have said four years ago I could do this, having been diagnosed with late stage 3 breast cancer, three operations and radiotherapy I would not have believed it was possible. I only hope this journey gives everyone reading this hope that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.”

Laraine was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2019 during a routine mammogram.

She underwent a series of operations including mammoplasties, which is breast surgery, and the removal of three lymph nodes. This was followed by a month of radiotherapy. In March 2020, she was told by her surgeon she did not need chemotherapy and that she would be in remission for the next five years.

However, she had to be referred in November 2022 to South Bucks Hospice for fibrosis and severe lymphoedema, which is a side effect of surgery when the removal of lymph nodes causes swelling to parts of the body.

“I couldn’t even sleep on my left-hand side,” said Laraine. “I was in so much pain. Lymphoedema caused significant swelling on the left-hand side which left me in agony.”

Mother-of-two Laraine says the treatment at the hospice changed her life for the better.

“I had several sessions with the team and it’s made a massive long-lasting difference. I have got to live with this condition and it’s how you manage it. They teach you exercises to help and I do them – they call me the A star student.”

The hospice, based in High Wycombe, also gave Laraine several counselling sessions.

“This helped me so much,” she said. “It helped me open up – they felt I kept so much within me and I hadn’t realised I did. I was counselled on how to live with my condition and talk more about it.”

She continued: “It’s a wonderful place that has literally changed my life and I am so grateful to everyone involved, in particular my specialist lymphoedema nurse Lynn Brooks. I feel blessed that I have access to the wonderful South Bucks Hospice,” she said.

For more information on how to access services at South Bucks Hospice, log onto