Craft and chat group helping people affected by cancer

The trust’s craft and chat group was set up two years ago following the opening of the trust’s cancer information centre.

Louise Harland, the trust’s Macmillan cancer support worker, explains more about the group and the impact it has had on people affected by cancer.

She said: “The group meet weekly and are supported through the cancer information centre. The group is made up of cancer survivors, those actively having treatment and carers. It was initially set up as a support group for the cancer information centre to support those who are affected by cancer and has quickly changed to the group supporting others with cancer.

“The group will actively support each other and new members coming into the group, with an open policy for conversation where no subject is off limits. The members of the group have all been affected by cancer in some way and because of their own experiences they have an understanding of the practical issues cancer patients face.

“As a result of their personal experiences, the group are always seeking new ways in which they can provide practical support. Some of the practical support the group offer is through craft. The group will sew and stuff cushions designed to support ladies with breast cancer, they make drainage bags enabling patients to feel more comfortable when carrying their drains. They also make general cushions in varying shapes sizes and patterns for every patient undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the hope this will make their experience more comfortable as they go through treatment and often the hardest thing they have ever had to deal with.

“Another key piece of practical support the group offer comes in the form of craft and that is making possession bags from old ties for the dying patient. The patient, their family or the mortuary staff can put rings chains etc and other personal effects into the tie bags so they can be given to the patient’s family after death.

“It is difficult to put into words the impact that the group has had to cancer patients through the practical support it offers. This testimony to the group does not touch the surface on the dedication to improving the lives of cancer patients they have shown.”

A testimony given by a patient sums up the work the craft and chat group and the impact they have.

Dear Craft and Chat ladies,

A big thank you. It was so lovely to receive my heart cushion and matching drain bag after my breast surgery. Not only did they make me smile but gave me comfort too, the cushion under arm and the bag hiding the hideous drain bottle, it even made the tubes invisible. I could put it over my shoulder and off I could go without having to jiggle bottles and tubes. When I came out of hospital the drain bag helped me to be normal. Two small things made with love made a huge difference for me.

Anne – breast cancer survivor 2018.

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