Healing the mind in cancer battles

30TH ANNIVERSARY:  James Toseland, Manx Cancer Help's Ally Martin and Katie Melua at the campaign launch

30TH ANNIVERSARY: James Toseland, Manx Cancer Help's Ally Martin and Katie Melua at the campaign launch

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ABOUT 370 Manx residents are diagnosed with cancer each year.

According to the North West Cancer Intelligence Service this is one of the highest rates in the British Isles.

And of these cancer patients around 120 will experience significant psychological and emotional problems as a result of their situation, especially with the added stress of having to travel across to Liverpool for treatment.

As a result, island charity Manx Cancer Help specialises in offering much-needed psychological support to cancer sufferers who face a range of emotions including distress, anxiety, depression, helplessness and uncertainty.

Among its many services, it offers drop-in sessions, group support and one-to-one psychological and counselling sessions at its relaxed building the Lisa Lowe Centre in Braddan.

Drop-in sessions take place between 11am and 4pm on Tuesdays.

Last week the charity celebrated its 30th anniversary with special guests, including its patron former World Superbike Champion James Toseland and his wife, award-winning singer-songwriter Katie Melua, at the Manx Museum in Douglas.

Guests at the event, sponsored by SMP Partners, heard from consultant clinical psychologist Professor Robin Davidson as well as cancer patients, and advocates of the charity, Alex Cowley and Derek Peters.

The event launched an anniversary campaign which will involve various events throughout the year, including a ball in July, and saw the publication of a three-year strategy plan.

Five years ago, with funding from the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, the charity, which was founded in 1983 by Eve Berridge, set up the island’s first locally based psycho-oncology service.

Professor Davidson currently travels to the centre from Northern Ireland two days a month and health psychologist Anita Imberger, who is on secondment from the Department of Health, holds sessions one day a week.

‘Our visitors tell us the welcome they receive at our centre is what they appreciate the most,’ explained chief executive officer Andrea Chambers.

‘Just walking through our doors puts them at ease.

‘It’s a place where they can come and acess whatever support they need, whether it’s a cup of tea and a chat or some pretty high level intervention work.’

She added: ‘We also welcome family and friends, as they too can often be deeply affected by cancer.

‘We know that those who love and look after someone with cancer can feel just as frightened, vulnerable and uncertain.’

In its new strategy plan the charity hopes to raise cash to pay for another psychotherapist and to increase its services and complementary therapies on offer.

In fact it has just started a very successful group for young adults aged 16-25 called CHAT (Cancer, Help, Awareness, Togetherness).

‘The challenge in our 30th year is to try to raise our profile so we can raise the £200,000 we need every year to continue,’ said Andrea.

If you need support or can offer the charity financial or practical support call 679544 or visit www.manxcancerhelp.org

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