After my diagnosis, and in fact through my entire course of treatment I had no idea where to find people like me, of a similar age to me, going through the same thing as me.
No idea where to go for some help and support.
Health professionals would tell me that Macmillan centre was available for support and that was where I was to go to speak to someone about anything that was related to the impact or side effects of my cancer. But to me Macmillan was a charity, and I shouldn’t be wasting their valuable resources on me. They were for those that really needed it. I could afford to get myself a counsellor or something so I shouldn’t be using a charities resources.
I felt like a lonely fish swimming in a massive ocean, going round in circles, with no idea where they should be heading.
It was only after my 3 month review appointment, where I had so many questions about everything I was feeling and going through and once again I got told to “visit Macmillan centre” that I did and had a complete emotional meltdown on the poor volunteer who was on that day. But it instigated access to support through them that has been extremely beneficial to me and my recovery.
Part way through my journey I started my Instagram account ‘kellymylymphoma’ and this blog, because I couldn’t find anyone like me or information for people like me. I have now, since finishing treatment, identified a world of support that is available out there. I really wish I had known about so many of these great organisations when I was diagnosed and started out especially those for younger cancer people because to be able to talk to people of a similar age to you , or the same condition as you, about the impact of this and what goes on in your head would have been invaluable to me.
So with that in mind this segment is a list of all the charitable organisations that are doing fabulous work out there to help and support individuals with cancer. So if you are finding this blog, newly diagnosed or in the throws of treatment, feeling lost and alone, I hope this page will help you to find support that you can reach out to.
No matter how much support you have from family and friends, there is something to be said for being able to connect with people who understand what it feels like to experience a disease, in particular with regards to the psychological aspects. Being able to say something and the other person goes ‘I totally get that” as oppose to giving you sympathetic or questionable look is priceless. So please check them out, and don’t be afraid to utilise what they offer. They are here to support you!!
MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT; local areas availability and services can differ, but if you click on the name it will link you to the website where you can put your location and find out services available in your area. They have lots of publications to offer information and support to individuals and their families if you are looking for something to read. The centres will often have access to complimentary therapies, where allowed a number of free sessions. I tried reiki which was really interesting and pleasant experience. There are also a number of support groups run in their name, as well as activity groups like walking and yoga. For me the best thing that I was provided through Macmillan was access to counselling and a course that they developed with Coventry University called ‘HOPE – Help to Overcome Problems Effectively. ‘
SHINE CANCER SUPPORT; Shine is a charitable organisation that is aimed at helping young people with cancer, particularly in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They have local and national networks. The link in the name will take you to their page where you can look for local informal meet ups. They also have information about issues that maybe more prevalently affect younger people like fertility. They run workshops, meet ups, camps and coaching events to provide support in a different format to support younger patients in feeling more comfortable in the support environment. For healthcare professionals, they run workshops to support understanding the unique issues that impact younger cancer patients.
TREKSTOCK; Trekstock is a charitable organisation for young people with cancer in their 20s and 30s. They provide online support network, as well as local and national events around the country. Their website has lots of stories that others have shared as well as video Q&A about significant topics impacting people with cancer. They also have specific support information resources particularly relating to exercise after cancer and more recently have released a book (which is downloadable) regarding food and cancer, which has a number of tricks and tips as well as recipes. The food book I would heavily recommend as a download for anyone.
MAGGIE’S CENTRES; Maggie’s centres is a charitable organisation that have centres across the country who can provide access to cancer support specialists, benefits advisors, nutritionists and psychologists. They have centres all over the UK as well as in Hong Kong and Tokyo as well as online support community and resources. The centres run workshops, groups and events across broad range of areas relating to cancer. Well worth looking into whether there is a centre in your area and what is available.
There are some organisations who look to provide gifts of support to individuals with cancer in the UK. You are required to register and provide information on your diagnosis. I wish I had known about them during my treatment as I a nice treat would have been greatly appreciated.
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO; Gifts are donated to the charity. Once registered and eligible you can apply for a gift. Applying doesn’t guarantee getting the gift as will be varied demand, but you stand a chance of getting something lovely for clicks of a few buttons.
ELLIE’S FRIENDS; This charity is run by Maggie’s centre and offers gifts that have been donated by people and business to those undergoing treatment or recovering from cancer. Once registered you are able to apply for a gift. Applying doesn’t guarantee getting the gift as will be varied demand, but you stand a chance of getting something lovely for clicks of a few buttons.
Disclaimer: the above is the authors interpretation of the services available from each organisation. Links to the organisations sites for further information is provided for individuals. Other charities and organisations may be available.