The Lymphoedema team at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading are donning a selection of odd socks to mark Lymphoedema Awareness Week (2-8 March), shining a light on the condition and showing support for those who have to wear compression garments in their daily lives to manage the symptoms.
Raising awareness of Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition, which causes swelling in the body’s tissues as a result of the lymphatic system not working properly. It can develop anywhere in the body, although it is more common in the arms and legs, and is thought to affect more than 400,000 people in the UK.
The Sock It Challenge, started by the British Lymphology Society, will see people across the country share photos of themselves in odd socks in support of those who have no choice but to wear compression garments to manage their symptoms.
Fiona Harland, Lead Lymphoedema Specialist Physiotherapist at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, said: “We’re delighted to get involved in this year’s Sock It Challenge to raise awareness of lymphoedema. Lymphoedema can have a big impact on daily activities but, with early intervention and the right support and guidance from a specialist, symptoms can be managed and controlled which can lead to an improved quality of life.”
“Lymphoedema can have a big impact on daily activities but, with early intervention and the right support and guidance from a specialist, symptoms can be managed and controlled which can lead to an improved quality of life.”
Sandra Grant, 60, receives treatment at the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading. She developed lymphoedema in her left arm after undergoing treatments for breast cancer in 2011.
“Lymphoedema can be very debilitating and I don’t think most people know the extent to which you need to manage it,” Sandra said. “It causes my arm to be very heavy and it makes it difficult to shop for clothes that will fit. I’m not usually a self-conscious person but the swelling made me worry about what outfit to wear, or if people would ask me about my arm when I went out.
“The Lymphoedema specialists at Sue Ryder are very hands-on and have worked hard to get me to where I am today”
The lymphoedema specialists at Sue Ryder are very hands-on with what they can do and they’ve never made me feel like anything is a waste of time. They have been very patient and worked hard to get me to where I am today.”
“Lymphoedema is a lifelong condition so it’s about learning to adapt and live with it”
76 year-old John Allin from Wokingham developed lymphoedema after receiving treatment for prostate cancer.
“When I first got lymphoedema over 20 years ago there was very little information available and it was quite a frightening diagnosis,” he said. “However, the continual support I have received from the team at the Sue Ryder Wokingham Day Hospice has been second-to-none.
Whether it is helping out with compression hosiery or giving me tips on what exercises I can do to relieve my symptoms, the team is always on-hand to offer advice. Lymphoedema is a lifelong condition so it’s about learning to adapt and live with it, and it’s great that there is now a lot more information and resources widely available.”
You can visit the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Lymphoedema Team's hospice page to see more about the specialist care they offer.
In addition, you can also visit the Berkshire Lymphodema Support Group's Facebook page, a monthly support group which welcomes anyone with Lymphoedema to come along for advice or help from speakers and others living with Lymphoedema.