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Nicky's Story

Nicky’s identical twin boys, Leo and Gabriel, were longed for babies after years of trying and finally conceiving through IVF.   But after a happy six months with her babies Nicky noticed a lump in her left breast.  She tried to convince herself it was a blocked milk duct, but her worst fears were confirmed - she had breast cancer.  Her first thought was for her twins – “please just let me have 10 or 20 years with them,” she’d begged.  

This was just the beginning of her ordeal – a few days after a mastectomy to remove her left breast, and three days before she was about to start harrowing chemotherapy, her fiancé walked out on the family and left Nicky to face it all alone...

Nicky was crushed that her only form of reliable support had chosen to leave.  “It felt more hurtful and cruel than cancer ever could,” she sobbed.  “I felt so completely helpless I phoned social services for help. I had no idea what I was going to do.”

Unfortunately Nicky didn’t meet their criteria for help but a social worker kindly completed the Helping Hands application on Nicky’s behalf in August 2017.  Nicky was eligible for support from a Norland College Trained Tamba Support Practitioner, Mel, which started in September.   Mel cared for Leo and Gabriel at Nicky’s home for a couple of days a week and provided 120 hours of support over six weeks.   This meant Nicky could go to hospital for chemotherapy and rest after the treatment to cope with the horrendous side effects.

Tamba’s support services manager, Helen Turier, explains, “Cancer treatment can be extremely debilitating, not least for a single mum of young twins. Nicky couldn’t possibly look after the boys properly after treatment –the body needs to recuperate.  We were glad to help when no other organisation could.”

Nicky says, “The cancer didn’t faze Mel at all – the first time I answered the door I didn’t have my wig on and I hadn’t put my ‘fake boob’ in my bra – I was a mess. But she didn’t care, she just got on with things. The difference Mel made was incredible and if she hadn’t been around I don’t know what I would have done.”

Nicky is just one of many families who have turned to Helping Hands since it was set up in 2014 and this Autumn we were thrilled to obtain national recognition for this invaluable service:  in partnership with Norland College, we won the ‘Community Support’ category at the Nursery World Awards 2017 – a prestigious accolade.

However, this came with a bitter pill: we also had news that our application to the Big Lottery for major funding for Helping Hands was unsuccessful. We had pinned a lot of hope to this, our third application, having found it difficult to attract funding for such a niche service from general trusts and foundations.  The level of crisis can be hard to imagine for those without personal experience of multiple births. 

So, we are now asking you, our multiple birth community to help those of you in desperate need, as only you, our families, can even begin to understand what it’s like to be a parent of multiples in crisis. This is a vital service and there isn’t anything out there like it for our vulnerable families, who through no fault of their own, simply cannot cope.

Tamba is asking you to make a donation of whatever you can afford to Helping Hands.  Helen Turier said: “We urgently need support so more parents like Nicky have somewhere to turn when the absolute worst case scenario happens and we want to be able to help them in their greatest hour of need. YOUR donation will enable us to offer that life-line.”

We urgently need your help so please donate today:

Donate now

or write a cheque payable to “Tamba” and post it to Helping Hands Fundraising, Tamba, Manor House, Church Hill, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 4JU.

Alternatively text TWIN03 £5 (or £10) to 70070.  If you would like to fundraise please email us

With thanks to The Pink Ribbon Foundation who donated to Tamba so that we could specifically help families facing breast cancer. We were able to help Nicky due to this very specific funding.

You can read more about some of the other families we have helped here. 

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