A charity set up by a woman whose mum battled cancer has reached its 30th year.
Grandmother-of-four Margaret O’Donoghue, from Preston, founded Cancer Help in 1988 after her mum battled the illness.
Since then, the charity has grown beyond all expectations and is celebrating 30 years of helping local cancer patients.
It has two cancer support centres, Croston House in Garstang and Vine House in Ribbleton, and has supported hundreds of people through cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Margaret retired from her role four years ago and although she now has very little to do with it, she is proud of what the organisation has become.
Chairman of Cancer Help, Jonathan Gorick, said: “Cancer Help’s 30th anniversary is an important milestone for the charity.
“Over the last 30 years, the support offered to cancer patients by the health service has improved immeasurably.
“In response, the charity has tailored its services to meet the changing needs of cancer patients.
“As it has done so, I believe Cancer Help has stayed true to Margaret’s original concept; namely to provide cancer patients and their families with free practical, psychological and therapeutic support in a non-clinical environment.
“As we celebrate over the coming year we recognise the contribution of the charity’s founder, the work of all those associated with the charity and, most importantly, the generosity of all those local businesses and individuals without whom Cancer Help would not exist. It is also important that this year especially, we aim to increase awareness of Cancer Help so anyone living in and around the Preston and Garstang area knows where they can receive face-to-face support.”
Jeanette Smalley, general manager at Cancer Help, said: “Screening programmes, better diagnostics and an increase in the range of treatments have meant that many patients are living longer.
“However coming to terms with being told that you have cancer, together with the treatment and the effects of that treatment, can be very difficult.
“Working closely with the clinical teams at Preston and Chorley hospitals and other cancer support organisations, the experienced team helps people cope with concerns they may have around anxiety, difficulty sleeping and fear of recurrence.”
Those wanting to access support can self-refer, either by phone, email, in person, or alternatively through the local healthcare teams – eg GPs, clinical nurse specialists, oncologists.
As part of Cancer Help’s anniversary, it is organising a 20-mile walk on September 15 between its two centres in Garstang and Ribbleton following the canal.
Jonathan added: “We want to develop a signature event each year and felt this was something that could be enjoyed by many people with varying degrees of fitness and ages and also ties in with our two centres.”
The charity is also looking for more volunteers.
For more information contact Jeanette on 01772 793344.