In 2005, at the age of 34 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer – in fact on my daughters 2nd birthday, and my son was only 7 years old. I am only too aware of the impact that a diagnosis of cancer within a family has. No matter who the patient is, all family members are affected. However, it is not all a negative process. Since my diagnosis I have been overwhelmed by true kindness, loyalty and friendship. I am a great believer in keeping a positive attitude, and in this I am not alone.
I have had many conversations with other patients, their families, and friends. The need for more opportunities for support awareness and social interaction, in a happy friendly atmosphere, with people in similar situations has been highlighted time and time again. This is especially true for those who are young, or have young families. To be able to meet and share common issues and to help each other find support is an essential part of the treatment process.
After holding fundraising and support awareness events independently, I have received numerous letters, emails and telephone calls saying how much people have enjoyed the events and how useful they have been to them … and asking for more!
FACT has 3 main areas to its work:
Initially, FACT was set up with the aim of building partnerships with health professionals, statutory bodies, support groups and services, charities and voluntary organisations. To help strengthen the network of support currently available in the area and to make it easier to access support at a time when people least feel like looking for help.
Secondly, Very early on, when we could not find what people were looking for we started to fill the gaps ourselves – either as a one off for an individual, or by developing a programme of regularly accessible support. And so our direct support to those diagnosed with cancer, their family, carers and friends came about. FACT now offers direct regular help, support and social opportunities for people going through the cancer journey.
Thirdly, FACT has gone on to develop Education and Awareness programmes and events delivered into schools, colleges and places of work. We have an established Primary schools programme on ‘SAFE IN THE SUN’ and one on ‘LOVE YOUR LUNGS’. Two more programmes are currently being developed … and we are working on converting these themes into programmes suitable for secondary schools. We go into public buildings and places of work – either with bespoke presentations or with a range of health and wellbeing materials, and information on signs and symptoms of several cancers.”