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Charity champion gets back to work after cancer surgery

THE driving force behind a Swansea-based charity has only just come home from hospital after surgery for breast cancer — but she is already throwing herself straight back into her work.

Mel & Mike with their dogsAnd she has had get-well wishes from none other than Hollywood star Michael Sheen.

Lightning has now struck twice for Melanie Davies, who dreamed up the idea that eventually became Treat Trust Wales while recovering from breast cancer for the first time ten years ago.

That was in her left breast. But a few weeks ago, Melanie, who is from Port Talbot and now lives with retired surgeon Mike near Pontardawe, found a lump in her right breast.

It was diagnosed as malignant and Melanie went into Singleton Hospital on Monday to have the tumour removed.

"I had the operation that morning and I was home the same night," said Melanie, who has been a wheelchair user since breaking her back in a motorbike accident as a 15-year-old schoolgirl 30 years ago.

"To be honest I am feeling great. It was nice to get the tumour out.

"My surgeon, Mike Chare, has been fantastic. He saved my life the last time I had cancer and he has been great with me this time as well. I honestly could not be in better hands.

"I have to wait eight to ten days for them to have the pathology back. Then they will know if there is any chance of the cancer spreading and they can decide my treatment."

During her first battle against the illness, Melanie had radiotherapy but did not need chemotherapy.

"I coped with it very well," she said. "The only drawback was that I had part of my treatment in Velindre Hospital and I'm hoping to have it all locally this time around."

Treat Trust Wales is developing plans for a £10 million therapy centre in the grounds of Morriston Hospital. Michael Sheen is its president and its patrons include singer Paul Potts.

The two will be appearing in a corporate fundraising event in Swansea's Brangwyn Hall next year, and Melanie has now confirmed the date as Friday, February 25.

"I'm throwing myself into my work," she said. "I have to, or else I will go crazy."

Melanie initially came up with the idea for Treat Trust Wales as a way of occupying her mind while recovering from breast cancer in 2000.

Her story is recounted in her autobiography, Never Say Die, and her experiences with the illness this time around have inspired her to press on with the sequel.

Even so, the cancer has come as a double blow in more ways than one, as husband Mike is also being treated for non-Hodgkinson's lymphoma.

But among the get-well wishes is one that has particularly cheered Melanie up.

"I had a nice email from Michael Sheen," she said. "He told me I was strong enough to beat it and that he was thinking of me.

"It was 'onwards and upwards and let's make Treat happen'. It was very sweet of him."

SOURCE: http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/news/Charity-champion-gets-work-cancer-surgery/article-2908839-detail/article.html

By Paul Lewis

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