I was lucky.  When I was diagnosed with cancer I had a Macmillan nurse at my hospital bedside.  When I returned home, a Macmillan nurse visited and flushed out my tubes.  When I was in the height of treatment a Macmillan nurse was there to answer my clinical questions.  When I was distressed with my hair loss, a Macmillan nurse directed me to the wig shop.  When I had no money from being unable to work, Macmillan arranged a grant to pay for my car tax.  When my cancer returned and I didn't know where to turn, a Macmillan nurse listened to my woes and gave me words of hope and encouragement.  For me, Macmillan Cancer Support, are a cloud full of real life angels.

Macmillan's angels: Gill, Laura, (me), Caroline, Liz

In an ideal world, every cancer patient or cancer carer should have a Macmillan Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) to guide them through their early days of cancer.  Further into the journey, attending specialised support groups are invaluable.   When my Macmillan gynae nurse and psychological nurse recognised a need to start up an Ovarian cancer support group for patients in Brighton, I signed up.  

Exceptional Care Award Winners: Liz & Laura

Sadly, since then, most of the original members have lost their fight with cancer.  This was a rather depressing time so I decided to channel my energy into a group of cancer survivors and carers that came together with cancer professionals on a monthly basis to use their experiences to improve cancer services across Sussex.  At the Partnership Group I met some of the most inspirational people this country has to offer.  Unsung heroes who volunteer their time to help other cancer patients with their practical and emotional requirements.

Fellow cancer patients & carers working at a Partnership Group meeting

I've learnt that there are not enough Macmillan Cancer Nurse resources for every cancer patient.  I was lucky, but it shouldn’t be a matter of luck.  I now spend time with Macmillan developing the cancer services that will be provided in a purpose built centre for the people of Sussex.  

Service User Group mapping out where the local services are in Sussex

The Macmillan Cancer Support Centre will be a hub of information for everyone affected by cancer in Sussex, providing:

  • specialist information and quality resources
  • welfare benefits advice
  • counselling services
  • complementary therapies
  • a hair and wig service
  • a cafe and dietary advice
  • self help and support groups

The new centre will be built opposite the cancer treatment centre at the far end of Brighton Sussex University Hospital (BSUH) off Eastern Road.

It's a fact that 1 in 3 people in Sussex are affected by cancer.  At the Macmillan Service User Group (a body of cancer patients and carers), we are working across the area to shape and deliver cancer services that will be provided from the new support centre.

The Service User Group are looking for patient/carers for the following:

  • Teenagers with cancer
  • Ethnic minorities with cancer
  • Rare cancer patients
  • Cancer patients with learning difficulties

Do you know of anybody, ie. a carer, patient, friend of a friend with cancer that fall into the above categories?  Would they be willing to attend Saturday meetings in Brighton, purely with a view to using their voice of experience to shape the services in Sussex? 

Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a £3.7m fundraising appeal in Sussex to fund this innovative new service for people affected by cancer across the county.  Watch the video...

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