Friends and family of people going through cancer don’t always consider themselves to be carers and consequently don’t seek the support they need.
To help people in Sussex who are looking after a loved one with cancer the Macmillan Horizon Centre will hold a number of events during Carers Week (June 12th to 18th) including a Coffee Morning on the Monday (12th) and an event on the Friday(16th).
Jill Collins, looked after her husband Doug when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008. Sadly, Doug passed away in October 2010 but in 2011 Jill became involved in running the Sussex Brain Tumour support group.
Jill said: “I knew my husband would want others to be able to benefit from the group, so I took it over with a patient. I get so much from running the support group. It helps people to see that they don’t need to feel different. It is for brain tumour patients and carers but the focus isn’t just on brain tumours. It is so nice to see people flourish and become confident enough to share their experiences with others in the group. That’s the rewarding part, seeing people being themselves, not patients or carers.”
Jill was also involved in the service users group who were fundamental in helping with the design, layout and choosing the services on offer at the Horizon Centre.
Jill added: “I’m glad to be involved with the user group, helping to shape the cancer centre as I can pass on my experiences to the group as the role of the carer is almost as important as the patient’s. I think that people need to find out what is available at the centre. Often, they feel alone when their treatment has finished and they don’t know what is there for them but Horizon Centre can help fill that void, and help signpost them to further support.”
Geoff Brown, Macmillan Horizon Centre manager said: “As the number of people being diagnosed with cancer increases, so will the number of family members and friends looking after them. Many of these friends and relatives don’t see themselves as carers and don’t get any support. Cancer carers do everything from taking their loved one to hospital, giving medication, or simply being there to listen – often while trying to stay positive and hold everything else together.
“We know it can be tough and you may not have the time or energy, to seek help. But we want to make it as easy as possible and this week is an opportunity to highlight the information and support available. We’d encourage people to come who would like information and support them to help them support their loved one to visit the centre and find out what’s on offer in Sussex.”
The morning session will run from 10.30am to 1.30pm and refreshments will be available. In the afternoon, between 1:30pm and 3pm there will be a Focus Group session – with the opportunity for people caring for someone with cancer and also carers with a cancer diagnosis, to discuss information and support available and explore any additional needs not being met.
Geoff adds: “We also need to know more about what people need, which is why we are having the focus group in the afternoon, but please sign up if you want to take part.”
To reserve a place please:
Phone 01273 468770
Visit them at The Macmillan Horizon Centre, 2 Bristol Gate, Brighton, BN2 5BD (across the road from the Sussex Cancer Centre at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Kemptown, Brighton)
You can find out more information about the Macmillan Horizon Centre at www.macmillan.org.uk/horizoncentre and details about Carers Week at www.carersweek.org
If you’re supporting a loved one through cancer, you can find support at the Macmillan Horizon Centre or visit Macmillan’s mobile information buses, website www.macmillan.org.uk/carers or helpline on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm).
They also offer information for healthcare professionals, so they can let carers know about the support available – see www.macmillan.org.uk/supportingcarers.