When facing a difficult stage in our lives, we all have different coping mechanisms to help us over the hurdle. However, a life threatening cancer diagnosis can throw even the most calm and level-headed of us into a state of shock, confusion and anxiety as to what happens next.
While some reach an acceptance point early on and resume daily life, others struggle to come to terms with cancer being dealt in the cards of life and need help to work through their emotions.
At Maples Cancer Care in Rotherham, they have been providing care and support to people affected by cancer for over 13 years.
Understanding that cancer affects not just the person diagnosed, but also their whole family on a daily basis, Maples was started by Dr Susan Wrigley and a group of volunteers in 2004.
Dr Wrigley was the first doctor to work at Rotherham Hospice and, while the hospice’s services are medical-based, Sue saw a need for complementary therapy and counselling sessions for cancer patients in Rotherham.
From humble beginnings…
The service began with one evening a week at the Park Rehabilitation Centre where the team would take along all their own furniture to establish a calming atmosphere for their guests to feel safe and welcome.
After an influx of people wanting to come along, they launched a second night at Ferham House in Kimberworth before deciding to find their own premises to open their doors to more people during the daytime.
The centre has been based at Clifton since 2008 and is a welcoming, non-medical environment where people can relax and address any concerns they may have.
To new beginnings…
Formerly known as Rotherham Cancer Care Centre, last year the service rebranded to Maples Cancer Care after listening to would-be service users’ comments about the name having clinical connotations which put them off joining.
Inside, the centre couldn’t be as far removed from the clinical walls of hospital environments, with a friendly, welcoming ambience from the moment you enter.
Just stepping through the door helps people take back some control in their lives. During such a stressful time, most are sign-posted to the service by health professionals who recognise the importance of the service. This means many service users pick up the phone themselves to ask for help in their own time without it feeling like another forced appointment.
Helping people live positively
In order to improve the quality of life of people affected by cancer, Maples is supported by a team of six therapists and two assessors who work with volunteer fundraisers and support staff. They provide a service to concentrate on any physical, emotional or psychological effects of a cancer diagnosis that may not necessarily have been addressed by a health care provider.
Most of the people who Maples help are at their most vulnerable and don’t know who to turn to.
Some decide to seek help at their initial diagnosis to talk through their worries at what lies ahead; others come during treatment to help them through the difficult, tiring process; and there are people who attend while in recovery or remission to regain stability.
What happens at Maples
During an initial visit to one of the assessors, here is the chance to talk openly about their individual story in an impartial setting. Many find this is the first chance they have had to do so without fear of their true feelings upsetting family or friends.
The assessor then looks at any concerns and provides tailored therapies to specifically alleviate the feelings, focusing on the person rather than the illness.
Some are worried about surgery or side effects of any medicines and so Massage Therapy may relax and relive tension. Others are anxious and not sleeping, which may be soothed with Aromatherapy to help with stress and lack of energy or to uplift the mood.
Some issues are not physical and emotional, with practical concerns about financial, social or spiritual situations. Here, counselling sessions are offered to talk in non-judgemental surroundings.
Each person who comes through the door is given four to six sessions for free over an eight-week period. This equates to around £450 per person visiting Maples. With no public or private funding, the centre relies on donations and grants to keep operating and giving those affected by cancer the support the chance to emerge stronger.
Could you help?
With such great demand for the service, the pressure to open their doors more often is met with overbearing logistic costs; it currently costs £80,000 to open three days per week.
If you are thinking of organising a fundraising event this year or next, why not make a pledge to support Maples Cancer Care and help people reach that turning point where they feel more like themselves again.
For more information about how Maples Cancer Centre can help you or someone you know, or for how you can help support them, contact 01709 375729
93 Badsley Moor Lane, Clifton, Rotherham S65 2PS