My View, Mel Hewitt - Help us to find a name

Mel Hewitt outside the ST John's Hospice Information and Support Centre.
Mel Hewitt outside the ST John's Hospice Information and Support Centre.

There are some events which impact on the world in such a dramatic way, years later people can still remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.

For example, when President Kennedy was assassinated, John Lennon was shot or when the Hillsborough disaster unfolded on our TV screens.

As well as these there are moments very personal to us as individuals that we carry with us and remain as fresh as the moment they happened. Happy, sad, funny, heartbreaking, challenging and life affirming - our lives and minds are full of milestone ‘snapshots’ that define our world and who we are.

Whenever I see the Macmillan Cancer Support advert which shows people falling and being caught after they have been told they have cancer, it brings me right back to the day my father was diagnosed with cancer.

I can still see him walking towards me in Mexborough Montagu Hospital. All he said was ‘it’s cancer’. How did he feel? How does anyone told they have cancer move forward from that point?

A new project based at The St John’s Information and Support Centre, at the Tickhill Road hospital site, is aiming to bring together all the support and services that will help and empower anyone living with cancer and specific long term conditions to ‘live well’ and treat people as ‘cancer survivors’.

Developing St John’s Information and Support Centre as the Hub for Survivorship in Doncaster is a big part of the will to make sure people access the support they need when they need it. Taking care of practicalities can help people feel in control – putting you back in the driving seat of your life. For example, advice and support to deal with money problems arising from your illness, keeping you well informed so you can understand your health and make good decisions to help you day to day, finding someone to talk to when, where and however you need that support, and knowing all the professionals looking after you are working together to create the best care for you – whether you are in hospital or at home.

Helping you get back to your old self – or perhaps finding a new you - as well as supporting those, whether friends or family, who are caring for you, is all part of the plan. You’ll also find support when you want to find or return to work. This ‘joined-up’ thinking, equality of care and a wider understanding of the impact of a long term condition will all radiate from the hub of the St John’s Information and Support Centre.

Which is where you come in. We want you to help us find the centre a new name. One that explains and captures the spirit of a place for all that’s best in care and support for anyone facing any of the challenges I’ve spoken about, and more besides...

Mel Hewitt, Community fundraiser at St John’s Hospice, Doncaster