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Nicola had the privilege of working with her massage trainer

The Biggest Journey and Privilege

“Simon taught me massage years ago and I felt privileged to have been able to be part of this special time in his life and bring a little peace and comfort to him when he needed it.”

Jennifer Young Training School gives therapists the knowledge and confidence to use touch therapy and other oncology massage treatments intuitively, and to help clients feel relaxed, safe, and cherished. Nicola* came to the Jennifer Young Training School after qualifying as a massage therapist with the help of her trainer, Simon*.

“Simon is a 55 year old IT technician by day and massage therapist and tutor at college where I work. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the February, after coming back from Holiday in Australia with his wife. He had symptoms 6 weeks previous to the holiday but would not go for investigation before as he wanted his wife to enjoy this holiday of a lifetime. He was consequently diagnosed with inoperable cancer and chose to receive palliative care only in order to lessen the symptoms.

Simon asked me to provide oncology massage for peace and calm when all around him seemed out of control. He felt medicalised and inspected and just wanted to feel like himself again. Simon was well aware that he had only weeks left as his weight was already low prior to diagnosis. His symptoms of anorexia were controlled with medication and liquid nourishment. He was, at the time of this oncology massage, having injected pain relief. Simon was incredibly weak in body but strong in mind and emotionally. We planned for weekly treatments.”

Simon asked to be a case study for Nicola during her oncology massage training, and even though he was becoming very unwell, both Simon and Nicola were able to share in a positive oncology massage experience.

Simon sadly passed away a week later, and was unable to attend any more oncology massage treatments with his former student, friend, and therapist Nicola.

“Although Simon and I planned for weekly treatments, we both knew that that was an optimistic plan. Simon died the following week in hospital, after being admitted following a severe infection. Simon did not want to be in hospital at the end, so this has a great sadness for all concerned.”

In a letter to tutors, Nicola spoke of her experience with Simon

“My last case study [Simon] was not only professionally beneficial but personally the biggest journey and privilege, to work with my own massage trainer at the end of his full and eventful life. It leaves me to thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to attending my next oncology course with you…”


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*names have been changed

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