Andy Edwards is smiling through the pain of terminal cancer.
For 58-year-old Andy, his wife and three young daughters, the support from a caring Lancaster charity has been of huge comfort at this most heartbreaking time.
CancerCare has helped thousands of people like the Edwards during its 33-year history but with your help, its devoted team can do even more to support local families in future.
So today we launch a campaign to put the spotlight on CancerCare and show how much it counts to Andy and many others like him.
Our Lancaster Guardian campaign is called ‘CancerCare Counts’.
Our campaign aims to engage and consult with the local community in developing new services for teenagers affected by cancer.
This might include improving the facilities at the centre, creating a new physical space/hub, the development of a mobile app, a support group (physical or virtual), creative groups/activity sessions, or an educational and outreach worker in local schools and other youth organisations.
We also aim to raise additional funds to support the launch of the new service at the end of the year.
And we aim to raise awareness of CancerCare’s services in the local community.
CancerCare was first set up in 1983 by local doctor Malcolm McIllmurray.
The charity began life as a small volunteer-led telephone helpline service based in an office within the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Recognising that cancer is more than just a physical issue, Doctor McIllmurray’s vision was to establish a local holistic cancer support service that also took account of the emotional needs of patients and their family members.
More than 30 years later, CancerCare now has two dedicated centres based in Lancaster (Slynedales) and in Kendal (Lakes Centre) and currently provides a wide range of free therapeutic services.
These include counselling, support groups, hypnotherapy, massage, the Alexander Technique, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, group activities including art, woodwork and jewellery-making, exercise classes and a dedicated Children and Young People’s Service for youngsters aged three and over.
CancerCare also provides outreach services in local
hospitals (including the Royal Lancaster Infirmary) and offers domiciliary support for clients requiring end-of-life/palliative care at home.
Whether someone is struggling to come to terms with a recent diagnosis, is going through treatment or has lost a loved one to the disease, CancerCare provides professional help and support to anyone who needs it – children, parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, neighbours, work colleagues or close friends –- when it’s needed most.
All CancerCare’s services are provided completely free of charge to anyone affected by cancer across North Lancashire and South Lakeland.
Therapy sessions are offered all through the week including some evening appointments and the charity is committed to responding to referrals within two to three days with no current waiting lists.
Since 2014 CancerCare also offers support to local families affected by other life-limiting conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease & MS.
The CancerCare Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) was first set up in 2002 to provide one-to-one support and group activities for young people aged three to 18 and their parents/guardians
who have been affected by cancer.
The service has helped over 600 adults and young people to date.
The majority (67%)of young people helped are aged three to 12 years-old.
The service is currently supported by eight experienced CYPS therapists.
Around half of the young people supported had been affected by a cancer diagnosis in their family including one of their parents (71%), grandparents (18%), another relative or friend (6%) and (5%) of young people had their own diagnosis.
The other half (47%) received support due to bereavement – 80% were related to cancer and 20% were non-cancer related (including death by suicide).
CYPS was extended in 2014 to offer support to young people who have been bereaved for reasons other than cancer or other life-limiting conditions due to funding cuts in other parts of the sector and an increasing demand to fill the gap in provision.
Here are ways you can help raise money for CancerCare.
1. Sign up to one of CancerCare’s annual events including the unique Cross Bay Challenge in August.
With a half-marathon (the only known event of its kind to cross a tidal bay), fat bike cycle event and family-friendly walk there’s something for everyone.
Get your workplace involved too and enter a team. Or if you’re feeling really brave, jump out of a plane at 10,000ft and experience a thrilling skydive.
2. Organise your own event. Hold a coffee morning or a bake-off at your work or school. Host a pamper evening with your friends or organise a pub quiz.
CancerCare can support you every step of the way and provide you with all the materials you might need including collection tins or buckets, posters and sponsor forms.
Email the fundraising team at email@example.com .
3. Make a donation. Text CCAR31 to 70070 with the amount you wish to donate – £1-£5 or £10 – or donate at cancercare.org.uk/donate .
Alternatively you can send a cheque made payable to CancerCare North Lancashire & South Lakeland.
4. Join Friends of CancerCare. Pledge a monthly gift to CancerCare and from just £5 you can help fund the free cancer support services for the rest of the year.
5. Play the CancerCare Lottery. Join over 7,000 other local players and from just £1 a week you can be in with a chance of winning some top cash prizes including a £5,000 rollover draw.
6. Tell CancerCare your views. What can they do to help teenagers in Lancaster who have been affected by cancer?
Contact them on 01524 381820, email firstname.lastname@example.org, send a message on Facebook at ‘CancerCareCharity’ or tweet to @CancerCarelocal.
The charity is particularly interested in hearing from young people, teachers and youth groups who would be interested in taking part in a workshop later this year which will help them shape the new Children and Young People’s Service.