Norfolk grandmother Celia’s show of courage
Many of us will be lighting candles this Christmas, but Celia Harmer’s home is usually aglow throughout the year. She regularly lights candles as a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world, as she lives with inoperable breast cancer. Sandie Shirley reports.
Medics told the Norfolk grandmother that she has three to ten years to live, but she faces each day with courage, believing her life is now richer than before she had the disease.
“God has shown me real love through family and friends and strangely I am more alive now than before the cancer,” says Celia, who lives near Norwich.
Her vibrant faith has given her blessings for life and hope for death, helping her withstand the fears, pressures and dictates of the disease through prayer and loving support.
Celia shares her inspiring message through ‘Lifeline’ – a DVD made to give every suffering soul new hope.
She is often tired and cancer has now spread to her breast bone, ribs and lungs and surgery is impossible but she says: “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. I want to shout it from the roof tops that Jesus is alive. If you are suffering in any way or are at breaking point, Jesus comes if you ask him.”
‘Lifeline’ was made seven years ago after Celia received the bleak medical report, despite previous chemo and radiotherapy for the disease.
She was too weak to carry a camcorder on a tripod but enlisted the help of a photographer friend for the filming and editing using lessons from ‘BBC Voices.’
She has already given away over 1,000 copies of the short film to people from all walks of life. She encourages people to take one – “It is a blessing – a ‘lifeline’ to anyone in distress through the power of prayer,” says Celia.
The film was first intended to help members of the Norfolk and Norwich Big C Centre’s Rosemary Group – a support group for women living with secondary cancer.
Celia attends the weekly meetings where raw emotions, laughter and friendship are shared to help everyone cope with the challenges of cancer.
She says: “Caring friends and family, together with quiet reflection and the beauty of creation, are like blessings from God.”
She believes no valley is too dark for the light and love of Jesus to penetrate. Two decades ago she survived a ruptured ectopic pregnancy when she was close to death.
Celia recalls being in agony in the hospital operating theatre. Unable to breathe, an oxygen mask was placed over her head. She prayed, prepared to die as her life seemed to ebb away, but suddenly Celia felt different. “It was as though I was being filled with hot water – I felt warmth and peace. I was amazed by the result of my prayer; when I came round I learnt that I had been given just 20 minutes left to live,” she says.
Celia has lost many friends to cancer. She says: “I know I am here through the grace of my Lord Jesus and I am helped by his love; the prayers of others and his love working through others.
“We are on this earth together with different parts to play and I am here by the skill of doctors, nurses and by science,” says Celia who continued radiotherapy last year to help fight the disease that first struck 17 years ago.
She adds: “I am here until it is too much for me and God takes me home to be with him.”
Copies of Celia’s DVD are available free from: Revelation, St Michael at Plea Church, Redwell Street, Norwich NR2 4SN (enclose second class sae).
Pictured above, Celia Harmer from Norwich, who has produced an inspiring Lifeline DVD.