Real People & Real Lives

With Your Help We Can Succeed

Jane Boreham

My Story

When asked to contribute to this site I felt honoured but grateful to be able to put down in words  how Tulips have helped us as a family.

Little did we know that when granddaughter Millie did a sponsored swim for Tulips Christmas 2018, some six weeks later we would be knocking on their door for support.


A wonderful  peep talk given to my husband by Raziye set us on the road for treatment, this was followed by one to my daughter when we went, a few weeks later for a wig.

Throughout my treatment  Tulips have made sure my drugs were collected and delivered to the hospital,  meaning we did not have to rush around getting them ourselves, reassured us when we had wobbles, of which there were several, and now treatment is completed they are still there for us.

This is why we, as a family, of three generations, are willing to help support Tulips when ever we can.

Yes it was me, the bald headed model raising sponsorship  at that HOT fashion show, again supported by Millie.


It was my husband, who walked with the blister sisters at the start of their walk, but it was incredible that one year later we, all three generations, took to the sea for the New Year's Eve swim!!!  COLD!!!!

So we all say "thanks Tulips" from the bottom of our hearts.

Fatma Arpalikli

Cancer knocked on my door

From the day of birth, human beings develop their own unique formulas while carrying the responsibilities they have taken on, or the ones that have been put on their shoulders. They live with these formulas as if they will last forever. Love, anger, happiness and even illnesses are calculated in these formulas.


Switching to plus in order not to decrease, multiplying to avoid diminishing. The constant effort of trying to change minuses and division. Then one day cancer knocked on my door. I thought I did not open it, but it turns out that it was the unknown formula. It reached right inside of my DNA where no-one could reach and changed all the values in my body. Since that day I am living without calculations.


We do not need a formula in order to live. 

Fatma Sabri

My Story

Breast cancer could not take my hopes nor my joy of living away from me. 

It was six years ago, exactly on the first of September when I found out I had breast cancer.. At first I questioned “why me?”, I cried a lot, I was hurt, but I was still a fighter. Both of my breasts were removed. 

There was no trace left of the joyful, happy, and wanderer person that I used to be. My partner, my children, and my friends gave me so much support that I asked life “why are you so sad?” I visualised myself as a warrior and continued with the battle..I am the winner. 

Six years later I am happy with my prosthetic breast implants, I am alive, never stop fighting.  

Early diagnosis saves lives. 

Fatma Sabri 

Sevigi Alibaba

What Life Brings

I could say that I have faced the consequences of not listening to my own body after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 1998 I sent my eldest daughter to study University at Turkey. In 1999 I sent my middle daughter to study University at America, the same year my youngest daughter started high school. I remember feeling fatigue since 1997 which got worse day by day. I could not breath when I laid down. In 1999 I noticed a lump in my armpit. I presumed it was because of the job I was doing, but that was not the case.I could not stop my life even if someone told me to do so, I was on a financial and moral run. I just wanted my children to study and for everything to go well.


In June 2001, I learnt that life does not the way you plan it. The lump in my armpit and on the side of my breast had dried my arm, stiff like wood. I went to my gynaecologist whom I did not visit for 13 years. The ultrasound results directly showed cancer and bleeding in the womb. After a needle biopsy, two large lumps in both my armpit and breast were removed. A week later, my right breast was completely removed in Ankara. Those damaged by lymph were cleared. I told my older children who were studying abroad that I just went for a check-up and handed over my youngest daughter to friends and relatives. The moment I saw myself in the mirror with one breast was the moment that I noticed that life is painful but valuable and that I needed to hold on to it one more time. With the pride and strength that came along with that thought I told myself  “get up and pull yourself together, you have responsibilities”.


The order of my house was out of control. My little girl became a shoulder to cry on. May 2002, the uterine surgery. The need to go abroad over and over again. The treatment process. I was trying not to show my distress in order not to upset my children. The house wasn’t what it used to be.


Even today, I'm still under the influence or face the shortcomings of these ailments that I experienced 19 years ago. But I'm proud and determined.   This is my second life. I now ask myself “Was the monotonic life I lived before cancer my life or the life with ups and downs that I have been living with a different mindset since overcoming cancer mine? “.


I am stressing the importance of EARLY DIAGNOSIS so that you do not experience the sadness and damage I have caused to my life and to my beloved children because I didn’t listen to my own body. Get yourself checked so that early precautions can be taken if you have cancer. 

Terry Purser

How are we going to cope

In 2018 my wife Sally and I had the biggest shock of our lives; I was diagnosed with Melanoma and Lymphoma.


We were trying to come to terms with this horrible disease and our thoughts were, how are we going to cope? The thoughts of selling up and going back to the UK had crossed our minds.


We knew about Tulips charity as Sally had raised money for the charity 2 years previously, we said at the time "one day we may need help" we certainly were not thinking that it would be us.


We got in touch with Tulips and they were so supportive and helpful, at the time we felt all alone but Tulips gave us a purpose.


They are always there to help, they helped in collecting the drugs from the state pharmacy and delivered them to the hospital for my treatment, every 3 weeks and then every 8 weeks for 2 years, Tulips also provided a translator to overcome the language barrier.


During the lockdown Tulips were very efficient making sure everything ran smoothly, trying for us not to get out of a routine.


We have 10 words that describe Tulips to us: Offers comfort and aid to others in times of need.

Ziynet Selçuk

My Story

In my healthy years I volunteered to help Tulips as much as I could. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2010 and I started my treatment straight away.


First, my thyroids and nodes were removed, then I received atom treatment in order to avoid recurrence. During my routine check-ups in December 2011 there was a mass found in my breast and I had to go under surgery.


My doctor told me not to be upset and assured me that he would do anything that was required for my recovery.

When I came out of the surgery, I was told that my right breast was removed as well as my lymph nodes. After my surgery my doctor informed me that we had got rid of all the risk factors. Then, I came back to Cyprus and started chemotherapy.


I heard that this would lead to hair loss and I knew this would affect me, so I shaved my head and bought myself a wig.


Although there were a lot things that were affecting me strongly during the time of the treatment, I managed to stay strong with the support of friends and family.

Anyone who had come to see me after I was diagnosed with breast cancer looked at me like I was about to die but I did not let these looks affect me.


I held on to life and kept my morale high. I carried on doing all the things that made me happy with more enthusiasm. I completed my treatment in 2011 and got rid of cancer.


Although I have been healthy until now, I am still concerned if it suddenly repeats. However, I do not let this doubt take over my life, I live my healthy days with gratitude and carry on living the best way that I can.

It is beautiful to live. If I have been given this life, I will live it. Cancer is not death. Your mood is really important during this illness, what makes you strong is your morale and the joy you have to live. Love life, live it to the fullest, and keep your morale high; because it is beautiful to be alive!

I would like to thank Tulips and the president of the association RaziyeKocaismail for their endless support.


I am proud to be a part of Tulips volunteering now for many years. I wish immediate healing and patience to anyone who has to go through this illness, do not forget; to live is the most beautiful thing. 

With Love,

Ziynet Selçuk

Barbara Willbye

How Did Tulips Help Me?

TULIPS helped me by just being there, knowing there was somewhere I could go for advice on doctors, medication, answering my questions, accompanying me on appointments and giving the support that as a cancer patient we need, by people who understand the impact cancer has on our families lives as well as our own.


Thank you Tulips for your continued support

Bahar Gökhan

One day, I was in Ankara for a Concert

Masters, language course, television programs, concerts, album, my life as an engineer, my home, my children, my family.. A total chaos.. 


One day, I was in Ankara for a concert. I had a lump in my breast which had been there for a long time. It was under control and they told me it was harmless. One year later, I was told by the doctor that I needed to do more frequent check-ups (every 6 months). I told him that we could do the check-up after the concert; my job had been a priority at the time.


I felt that the lump grew even more while I was in Ankara. I went to the doctor and got a digital tomography done. I needed an urgent operation.. How?


I was appointed by the presidency to do a concert on the Ankara radio. I decided to go under the surgery the day after the concert. My doctor smiled. It’s been 10 years and my doctor is still smiling.. Breast cancer.


I decorated the process with my songs.. I tried to give morale support to the people who called and to the ones who came to see me. Raziye Kocaismail was right by my side. Then radiotherapy, check-ups every 3 months after a successful treatment, and finally the 10th year.


I have never skipped a check up, in fact I got them done twice. I went back to my working life as soon as I could, but I slowed down my life. Diagnosis was a turning point for me. I realised my own worth. I kept away from the people that made me upset, I decided that I was going to learn to say NO. I gave concerts, I sang songs. I gave talks and called to young girls through social media in order to create awareness.

Don’t be afraid of cancer, be afraid of late diagnosis. Smile, have fun, travel but don’t neglect your check ups. 


I wish you all good health..

Fatma Ilıcan

My Story

 I came to meet with breast cancer in 1996. I was one of the youngest patients and I was in a really bad situation at the time. During those days I found Tulips and met with Raziye, the president of the association of helping those with cancer. She was there for me both financially and morally. 23 years later (in 2019) she is still present for me. 

I would like to thank Raziye, the management of the whole association and everyone who is working for Tulips. 

Fatma Ilıcan

İlkiz Akrep

My Story

My name is IlkizAkrep. I was born in Nicosia in 1960. In 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through very difficult times. At first, I did not want to accept it.


I went to two other doctors. They also made the same diagnoses. I had to explain this to my husband and my kids. I went to Istanbul and had an operation done with Prof.  VarolÇelik.


My breasts and lymph nodes were removed. The pathology results showed that they contained cancer cells, so I had to start chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In 2008 Dr.Umut used to come to the state hospital once a month, he made a treatment plan for me and gave it to Dr.ÖzlemGünkut to put it into application.


I was told that I had to take the radiotherapy in Turkey or in South Cyprus. My family was in the TRNC and I had a young child therefore I chose to get treatment in the South. I didn’t know Greek nor had a good level of English. My mood was very bad. I was literally torturing myself. I was trying not to reflect it on to my family. Even when I think about it now, I could have a psychological breakdown. The feelings of despair and my loved ones around me. My family was trying to come up with a solution. I was going to the South but how would I succeed? Just at the right time my friend told me about Tulips, that they were offering support by providing translators and transportation for cancer patients. I went to the association and met with the founder and president of the association RaziyeKocaismail. Dear Neşe, Sevgi, Işın,Pınar, Remzi , Civan.


Here everyone has a different role and they are putting all the effort that they can to do the best for Tulips.

Neşe booked an appointment for me in the South. The day of the appointment Remzi provided me with transport.

Civantranslated throughout the process. For a whole month, I was taken to the South every single day without paying anything to Tulips.


Everyone should get checked on time. I have kept my connection with Tulips since 2008. We have become a family. Everyone is doing their work at their full potential. The patient numbers are high and I am trying to help as much as I can.


Raziye Kocaismail, the founder and president of Tulips, she is everyone’s sister, and mother. If only she didn’t have cancer. She did not have these opportunities at the time. She decided to establish the association after all the struggle she went through, just so she could help people like us in need. Maybe I would not be this sensitive If I hadn’t gone through all of that. I lived it, I still see people living it and I wish every patient to get well soon.

Sue Tilt

I had never heard of Tulips...

When I was diagnosed with cancer in October 2010 I had never heard of Tulips nor had many other expat cancer patients at that time.  I was lucky my friend Carole had and took me along to see Raziye Kocaismail who has been the chairperson of this fantastic organisation since its inception in 1993.

After getting over the initial feeling of panic the sense of relief was overwhelming to find someone, and an organisation, that understood what I needed and took the worry away from me trying to find my way around a system that was alien to me and a language that I could not speak. Before I knew it all my appointments were made followed by my prescriptions being collected and my drugs waiting for me at the hospital ready for each treatment.

So please ring Tulips if you or someone needs help and guidance, they are there to support you.

I have since forged a wonderful friendship that will last forever with Raziye and Tulips. As many of you know, I will continue to support with fundraising events and in any other way that I can.

I can’t thank Tulips enough for how they helped both myself and my husband at a time when we most needed it.

Gülen Çakko

I met with cancer in the year 2000

It was the start of a very difficult and painful period.


There were gaps in the health sector here so I had to go to Istanbul.


Financial and inner difficulties arouse, my children were really young.


Thankfully I completed my treatment with the help of Tulips, my friends and family.


I had received help from Tulips throughout every step of my treatment.


Thank you to everyone.