A Newton Aycliffe cancer survivor is preparing to celebrate her second Christmas in remission with a freshly decorated kitchen, provided by S Nicholson and Sons and the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust (Team Solan).

Dee Donoghue, 38, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in January 2017. Following chemotherapy treatment, she relapsed in January 2018. She required a different form of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant in April 2018, and is currently ‘defying the odds,’ according to consultants, in her remission.

The former teacher now volunteers on a regular basis for Team Solan in its charity shop, working closely with founder Mark Solan.

Team Solan was created to help improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer in County Durham. It can help with small grants to purchase equipment, pay for daytrips, or fund visits to spas or beauticians.

Dee said: “It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with Mark and his team to help support other people who have been through the same experience as me and to give something back to the community.

“I mentioned to Mark that my kitchen could use a bit of care and attention – I’m the mum of two little girls and two dogs, so it’s a nightmare for paw and finger prints – and he put me in touch with Stephen Nicholson, who donates a lot of his time to help improve the lives of cancer survivors by redecorating for them.”

S Nicholson and Sons is based in Bishop Auckland and specialises in the renovation of listed and heritage buildings, however he also provides services as part of Team Solan’s pledge to improve the lives of people in County Durham.

Stephen Nicholson, managing director of S Nicholson and Sons, said: “I got involved with Team Solan a few years ago when my dad was receiving treatment for cancer, and I was blown away by the incredible work it does.

“Sometimes, just sitting in a freshly decorated room can boost someone’s mood and help with the recovery process. It only takes my team a few hours but can improve the person’s mood for months. It’s really rewarding, and we’re delighted to help.”

Mark Solan, founder and director of Team Solan, said: “I’ve visited people’s homes after they’ve had a visit from Stephen, and it makes the world of difference to them.

“Dee is amazing, and I’m delighted that I’ve been able to help her to have the kitchen of her dreams in time for Christmas.”

Dee said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Stephen and Mark for transforming my kitchen. I love fresh paint and beautiful, clean walls. It’s wonderful.”