If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.
I look at these words everyday as I sit at my desk and run this small but mighty charity. They’ve been with me from the very start and are a daily reminder that we can, and we need to do brilliant things.
The last few months have been incredible, new friends, new supporters, new funding, and most importantly new people accessing our service – people who are ready to talk.
We’ve delivered hundreds of hours of talking therapy, in both 1-2-1 and group settings, something that I’m incredibly proud of. I’ve had the privilege to meet some amazing people who have trusted me enough to share their thoughts and feelings and allowed us to work together to get the help they need. I’ve listened to some amazing young people and shared in their laughter and tears as they talk about their lives both during and after their treatment. In one session the group asked, if you could have 1 ‘cancer’ wish what would it be? They wished for the late effects of their treatment not to cause them physical and mental pain anymore and one young lady simply said, ‘I’d wish for 24 hours with the girl I would have been if I’d not had cancer…just to see what I would have done’. Our support groups are creating a beautiful, safe, space for people to meet others who have a shared experience, to check-in once a month, share and have conversations that they may not feel comfortable having with other people.
We’re 12 months into delivering our services in East Anglia and we’re learning so much. We’ve made some incredible relationships with our colleagues in the NHS, in particular recognising the need for support for families who are living with the Late Effects from cancer. It’s with great pride that we’re working together to provide that support for all the family that might need it. Charly, the Teenage and Young Adult Late Effects CNSat Addenbrookes hospital recently shared this
‘Mind Over Cancer’ have been extremely helpful in supporting the young cancer survivors I look after as a Teenage and Young Adult Post treatment and late effects clinical nurse specialist. I work within a team of specialists at CUH who care for young people with and beyond cancer. Our resources are mainly centred around caring for young people and their families on treatment and for some years after. We cannot always reach everyone, especially childhood cancer survivors who are experiencing late effects although we do try. Susie has helped set up a support group for young cancer survivors who were diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 0 – 29 and have been off treatment for at least 2 years. We know in this business that the trauma of cancer does not just disappear 2 years post treatment. This group has proven to be a success.
Mind Over Cancer have helped to fill the gap in support for these young people and their families, peers and partners who have suffered along-side their relative/ friend. We also have a group of patients who have had cancer as a young person and now exceed the age supported by Teenage and Young Adult Services. Susie and her team have helped this group of over 25’s who are still coming to terms with their previous cancer diagnosis and treatment and I know these young people are benefitting hugely from their support with counselling and/ or support groups.
I am so grateful for the support of ‘Mind Over Cancer’ and grateful to Susie for her dedication and determination to get the support out there for these young people and their families. I sincerely hope we can continue to work together for years to come.’
We were invited to be part of the East of England Cancer Alliance group for young people psychological support and now playing an active part with other colleagues within the NHS and charity sector in making sure the best service is offered to everyone across the region. We’re meeting with more NHS teams as our name begins to be shared, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to reach all groups of patients and their support network who need our support. A HUGE thankyou to our NHS colleagues for supporting us and working with us.
The support we’re offering is reaching the whole family and we’ve been able to help mums, dads, carers, siblings, and partners who are reaching out and asking for help which is everything that we wanted. Either during or after treatment, we’re here to support people when they’re ready to talk. What has been confirmed in the past few months is the long-term effects a childhood or young adult cancer diagnosis can have on individuals through their life. The psychological impact and trauma of treatment and the whole experience can stay with some people for years and we’re seeing this more and more each week. Mind Over Cancer is committed to supporting individuals when they need us and using our platform to raise awareness of the impact this disease can have on people at diagnosis as well as the years after the treatment has stopped. PTSD is not often spoken about within the context of cancer, we need to change this as it can be very much part of people’s lives and we need to make sure the support is available for them, especially when the cancer has gone.
We’ve had some amazing meetings with new supporters, a wonderful group of ladies in Norfolk who are becoming our number 1 fans. We’re incredibly grateful for their time, generosity, and support to the charity and excited to see what happens in the coming months. The charity was invited to its first rotary club, I had the huge pleasure of meeting and speaking to the members of St Neots St Marys Rotary Club, special thanks to their president Richard Shaw and to all the members for their kindness and the donation.
We’ve been having some great meetings with both national and local charities; it was always at the top of the ‘to do’ list to work with charities in delivering the best support to families that we can. I’m proud to say we’ve made some wonderful friends, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Spread a Smile, Little Lifts, Macmillan, Young Lives vs Cancer, Trekstock, Teensunite and Solving Kids Cancer are just a few to name.
We have become proud members of Cancer52 – 55% of UK cancer deaths are from rare and less common cancers. Despite this, these cancers remain severely underrepresented and under-funded across all areas, including policy, services, and research. Cancer52 is an alliance of over 100 organisations working to address this inequality and improve outcomes for patients with these highly challenging diseases.
We launched our new podcast ‘13 minutes with Maddi’ which is incredibly exciting. Maddi is one of the first young people to get in touch with the charity when we launched and during a conversation one day, we came up with the idea of her leading on this wonderful project. If you’ve not yet listened to any episode’s head to our website and click on the link, they’re not long, just 13 minutes 😊 We know people’s lives are busy and we want to encourage supporters to listen to people’s stories around cancer and mental health to help them start having these much-needed conversations at home, in the workplace…all over the place. Thank you to Mark Wilkinson at JTV Cancer support for creating and editing our podcasts, a true friend!
More thanks to our friend Angel from Flock Design who has upgraded our website and oversees all that needs to be done on it. We’re incredibly grateful to him donating his time, experience and skills to the charity and helping us look utterly fab on the world wide web. Another shout out to the wonderful Alice who is helping us with our social media and helping us look cool.
In June we had a wonderful team of people running the Sandringham 5k, our first event that had people running in our new charity t-shirts – I was so excited and got a little emotional seeing our fantastic team of supporters.
We’re keen to work with more NHS teams, charities and individuals who want to access this support. If this is something, you want to find out more about please contact us
We’re currently working on lots of new plans and looking forward to sharing them with you soon.
And so…to those of you who clicked on this link and are still reading, thank-you, you’ll never know how much your support means to us/me. Feel free to like, share, and become another voice in our mighty charity.