Cancer survivor Alison Henshaw felt there was a need for a service that offered emotional one to one support to people affected by cancer.
And with the help of Doncaster Council and Macmillan Cancer Support she has set up Cancer Buddies.
The scheme allows people who have been touched by cancer to share their experiences of cancer and support each other.
The scheme, which trains volunteers who have been affected by cancer so they can offer emotional support to Doncaster people touched by cancer, will be launched on Thursday 6 March by Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones.
Mayor Jones said: “This unique service is open to anyone whether you are a cancer patient, survivor or have a loved one who has cancer. It is supported by Doncaster Council and Macmillan Cancer Support and is available to all residents within the borough.
“Cancer Buddies are men and women of all ages who have been touched by cancer in a variety of ways and they all want to use their experiences to help others.
“Cancer touches many people’s lives, and I like many others have personal experience of this within my own family. I really believe in this scheme and its big strength is the fact it is driven by people who have a deep understanding of what the people using the service are going through.
“People affected by cancer and their carers often say that talking to someone else who has been affected helps them feel less like they are on their own and more confident about coping with the situation they are in - Cancer Buddies offers people a chance to do that.”
Doncaster has more than 10,000 cancer survivors and with new treatments the number of people surviving a cancer diagnosis is anticipated to double by 2030.
Cancer Buddies are people who have been touched by cancer and want to help other people affected by cancer.
The trained volunteer Cancer Buddies can offer:
• 1 to 1 emotional support
• A chance to talk to someone who has been on the same cancer journey
• Information about other agencies
• Support for Carers
• A network of volunteers across various age groups
Cancer Buddies gives volunteers a chance to use their experiences to support other people by using their unique understanding of how people may feel and the emotions they may be going through.
Doncaster Council Stronger Communities Officer and Cancer Buddies Coordinator Alison Henshaw said: “Because I was so open about my diagnosis and treatment I found that people who had been diagnosed with various types of cancer opened up to me; asking questions, sharing their feelings. I soon realised that I wasn’t on my own, other cancer patients had the same fears I had and to talk to someone who had been through that same journey was a relief.
“Doncaster Council had been very supportive of me throughout my treatment. The council and Macmillan’s support led to my idea for helping others becoming a brand new initiative that will hopefully make a difference to so many people’s lives.
“I am humbled by the survivors and carers I have met who have shared not only their own personal stories but also their inner most feelings. The positive feedback I have received from partners, management but most especially those survivors and carers who have chosen to get involved with Cancer Buddies has given validation to my hopes for the initiative beyond what I could have ever imagined.”
Tom Noel, Macmillan Development Manager, said: “When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life and it’s vital that people affected by cancer have the chance to share their worries with others and receive emotional support. At Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything.
“No one should face cancer alone. And this is the reason we have supported Cancer Buddies, to make sure that people in Doncaster don’t have to.”
To speak to Cancer Buddies, or to find out more about becoming a volunteer Cancer Buddy, please contact:
Alison Henshaw on 07795128028 or 01302 734189 or email Cancerbuddies@doncaster.gov.uk