Blood buddies group offers support
A support group for people living with blood cancers has been set up in Skipton and is opening its doors to anyone who needs support or just a friendly face and a chat.
The group meets at the Cancer Support Yorkshire Centre on Otley Street on the second Tuesday of every month from 1.30 – 3.30pm, where they can get together, talk to the specialist oncology nurse and hear from speakers including consultants, dieticians and therapists including learning mindfulness techniques, all to support their wellbeing.
Ray Lockley from Barnoldswick is a regular at the group, having been diagnosed with myeloma 3 years ago. Myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells, it is not usually considered a curable disease, but it is very treatable. The main aims of treatment are to considerably reduce the myeloma, and to bring a person into remission for as long as possible with the best quality of life.
Ray had a stem cell transplant at Leeds hospital 2 years ago and finds coming to the group invaluable as even when the cancer is in remission, it can be difficult to live with emotionally.
“I’m happy to talk to people who are going through what I’ve been through. I had someone who helped me when I was diagnosed, they were a few steps ahead of me in treatment and it just helped a lot in the beginning.
I’ve had a stem cell transplant and after I heard I was free of the disease I was very happy but then you can feel a bit adrift, as you are meant to go on living your life. I was told I’d have a minimum of 2 years until I needed another treatment so for me now I feel like my guarantee has run out so coming to the group is really important.”
Kathy Shearer, Clinical Nurse specialist in Haematolgical Malignancies at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says
“Ray has come to that time where he may need more treatment and it is understandably like a cloud over his head. That’s what we are here for, to help our patients through difficult times and to give them support when they most need it.”
Debi Hawkins, Centre Manager, Cancer Support Skipton says:
“A lot of people get support from knowing they are not on their own and sharing experiences and tips. As well as the blood buddies group which is for men and women, we also have a men’s cancer group that runs twice a month; we have a lot of men who say ‘I’m not a group person’ but when they come to the men’s group they realise they can help other people as much as they get help from it. We had 13 men turn up for the first one and when it was finished they said that was great ‘can we do it again’, and they’ve been meeting ever since. In December they are having their social meeting at the brewery in Skipton, it’s great.”
The centre is open 5 days a week 10am – 4pm and offers a range of groups. For more information on any of the groups visit contact the centre on 01756 228088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org