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Issue 285 – Your help is vital to help save cancer support service

Local cancer counselling charity, Positive Action on Cancer, has launched ‘The Listening Ear Appeal’ to raise £200,000 so its counsellors can continue to provide vital emotional support to families affected by cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

The charity – which is the only place in and around Frome where people affected by cancer can get professional counselling free of charge – is struggling to survive since major sources of funding have ended. And it is calling on local people and groups to support the campaign.
The charity was formed 15 years ago by Jill Miller after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was struck by the lack of emotional support available. Since then it has helped over 500 people including one service user who says, “My counsellor helped me to find a strength I didn’t know I had, to acknowledge my feelings of anger, guilt and resentment, and supported me as I came to terms with these emotions and eventually helped me move on. After each session I felt more in control both of the effects of the cancer and more importantly of my life.”
Now the charity wants to raise not only funds but awareness that having someone to talk to is a vital part of cancer care which cannot be lost. Lending their support to the Listening Ear Appeal are ‘Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud and TV personality Gloria Hunniford – both of whom know the value of this service.
As Kevin McCloud told Positive Action on Cancer, “I know from personal experience how difficult life can become when someone you love develops a serious illness like cancer, which is why I fully support the work that Positive Action on Cancer is doing. Illness can be isolating and treatment is sometimes technical and scary. Counselling provides the human, friendly antidote.”
Gloria Hunniford said, “Cancer deals more than just a physical blow and being able to discuss ones fears and extreme worries about the effects of the disease on both the individual and family life is a vital part of cancer care. Positive Action on Cancer offers excellent work and I fully endorse their Listening Ear Appeal and urge everyone to do what they can to help the service to continue.”
The charity is based in Frome and has provided counselling here for the last 10 years, it is one of four adult services in the area. It also runs a special service for teenagers and smaller children who are particularly vulnerable to long term problems when they lose a sibling or parent if they don’t receive the right support.
“Anyone affected by cancer knows the impact an illness like cancer can have on your life”, explains the charity’s director Mary Taylor who has spent six years counselling for the charity. “It can knock people to their knees, especially children who’ve lost a parent or people who’ve struggled through the experience of caring for a loved one. People do their level best to get through but when just six free sessions of counselling can make such a difference to their quality of life and their ability to cope, we think it’s vital that this support continues to be available to everyone who needs it.”
Positive Action on Cancer is urging all local businesses, community groups, schools, churches and individuals to help by raising as much money as they can. To find out more and to get a free fundraising pack full of great ideas they can visit the website or call Rosie Eliot on 01373 455255.

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