A Macmillan volunteering scheme which provides people affected by cancer in Nottinghamshire with emotional and practical support at home has just celebrated supporting its 500th patient.
The Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Service, which is run in partnership with Self Help UK helps people reclaim life after treatment, and is using Self Care Week (13th – 19th November) to highlight the support it can provide and urge people not to suffer alone.
A growing team of 200 volunteers deliver a range of support: from befriending and emotional support and accompanying patients to appointments, to assisting with light housework or other tasks. The project supports people of all ages from the point of diagnosis to beyond treatment.
The project has already made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of people across the county including Tracy Dews, 48, from Newark.
After first being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, Tracy was given the all clear in 2016. Two months later she was told that the cancer had come back and spread to four places.
She said: “I felt frustrated and angry that it hadn’t been picked up. At first it was like I was going round in circles with the medication I was on and I wasn’t sleeping. I had been expecting to go back to work as a teaching assistant but I was stuck on my own during the day.”
She was paired with Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis volunteer Linda a year ago and the support has made a big difference.
“My friend from the Newark Breast Cancer Support Group told me about Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis. I met Josh [Volunteer Coordinator in the area] who introduced me to Linda. She has been someone outside of the family who I could talk to. I was driving my family crazy! It felt like I was taking control of my life, I could get out of the house and talk about everyday things with someone who understood.”
“I have got on with it. I’m still receiving treatment now: they said they couldn’t improve the shadows on my lungs, but they are now showing signs of reduction! I still see Linda for a coffee and a chat, I get along so well with her and have been seeing her for over a year now.”
Josh Wood, Macmillan Volunteer Co-ordinator for the area, said: “Living with cancer, at any stage, can be emotionally overwhelming; we want to make it easier to cope with and help people to keep their lives on track. With this week being Self Care Week, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the support that people can access. People can self-refer into the service by calling or ask their health professional to refer them.”
Self Care Week, which runs from November 13th – 19th, is an annual national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations.
During the week, the Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis team will be holding events in libraries across the city and at the Macmillan Information and Support Centre at Nottingham City Hospital to provide information and advice about self care.
For more information about the service contact the Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis team on 0115 9111662 or email email@example.com