Lymphoedema Team ‘Step a Million’

  • 7 March 2024

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4 females, 2 nurses outside a large door

During Lymphoedema Awareness week 2024, we are proud to share that two professionals from the Lymphoedema Services Team at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity are taking part in Step a Million.

Step a Million is an ongoing fundraising challenge which will support people living in Cambridgeshire with an advanced serious illness or a life-limiting condition and those in need of end-of-life care. Participants are challenged to walk one million steps in one hundred days.

Lymphoedema Team Lead, Tracy Hancock (pictured 4th in the image) and Specialist Lymphoedema Nurse, Natasha Boysen (pictured 3rd in the image) enjoyed taking part in the challenge in previous years and signed up again. 2024 will be Tracy’s third time and Natasha has accepted the challenge, this year, for the second time.

When asked about their strategy for the challenge, the two Lymphoedema Health Professionals didn’t have to think about their answers for long. Natasha says that she is from a family of walkers having grown up going on walks:

“I like nothing better than heading out with my OS map and with my walking boots on – much to the amusement of my teenage children. I also run a little and am keen to use the car less for short journeys to do my bit for climate change. As I drive to work, it is a challenge during the week to complete 10,000 steps a day, so it has meant making changes – such as always parking as far away as I can in the car park, doing an extra couple of laps of the Hospice at lunchtime and then braving the cold for a brisk walk in the evening after I get home.”

Tracy also has had a clear plan for the challenge :

 “I walk an elderly couple’s dog five times a week, to help them. I also go to Clubbercise, do various online exercise classes and try and do a 30-minute jog twice a week – so I hope to continue whatever the weather!”

Tracy continued:

“I am inspired to do this, as in the colder, darker winter months it is personally more of a challenge to achieve my daily 10,000 steps – so this helps #TeamArthur and helps me stay healthy too”.

Natasha added:

“Not only does this challenge encourage me to walk more, but it also means I’m using the car less, which is better for the environment and my purse! Last year, I began by walking to my weekly yoga class and have kept this going throughout the year in every weather – I think I have only driven twice!”

The team in the Lymphoedema Services are experts in knowing that staying active helps  well-being. Tracy explained:

“Remaining mobile is particularly vital for Lymphoedema patients, where maintaining their muscle pump activity enhances their lymph circulation and reduces swelling – the more our patients move the better it is for them.”

 “We are not asking for 10,000 steps a day from our patients – but every step counts.”

Natasha agreed:

“Encouraging my patients to be as active as they can is something I am passionate about- not only is it essential as part of their Lymphoedema management programme, it is essential for everyone’s general physical health and well-being. Sometimes being active may involve doing simple chair-based leg exercises or walking an extra lap of their garden or living room. My role involves a lot of patient education, support and encouraging patients to make small positive changes to their everyday lifestyle so they can be healthier and motivated.”

Tracy and Natasha care for people such as 18 year old Megan and Robert who has been visiting the service for over 20 years. Megan’s Mum shared what a difference Tracy made to them, when she was searching for support, after Megan was diagnosed at 6 weeks old:

“Tracy has been amazing with her throughout all the years she’s seen Megan, with help with her compression stockings and advice with skin care. I really don’t think Megan’s Lymphoedema would be so controlled if it wasn’t for Tracy.”

Robert commented:

“Following a procedure to treat breast cancer, I needed help to manage Lymphoedema. The facility and the team at Cambridge made a world of difference. I look forward to visiting and the team are always friendly, kind and caring.”

He added:

“The service is excellent and a chat there cheers you up for the day. The Bistro is very pleasant and when I visit the service, I have a coffee there at the same time.”

Tracy and Natasha are encouraging their patients to move as much as they are able:

“If any of our patients feel they can manage the Step a Million Challenge next year we would be delighted – as long as they wear their leg compression stockings to walk in!”

The official Step a Million challenge is running until 16 April but registrations for 2024 have now closed. If you would like to support Tracy or Natasha please visit their fundraising pages:

Please see Tracy’s fundraising page here:

and Natasha’s fundraising page here:

The Lymphoedema Services Team provide treatment and education for patients with primary or secondary lymphoedema with emphasis on best management and encouraging the patient to take on-going control of their condition.

Lymphoedema is a condition which cannot be cured, but with appropriate treatment it can be controlled and often significantly improved. The team saw 340 people between April 2022 and March 2023.