Irish Cancer Society urges anyone affected by cancer and who needs to talk, to reach out this Christmas

Mum-of-two cancer survivor opens up on ‘amazing’ counselling help & encourages others to ‘reach out’

Over 3,200 sessions of counselling have been delivered to adults and children affected by cancer since the beginning of the pandemic.

And the Irish Cancer Society is urging anyone else who feels affected by their own cancer experience or that of a loved-one, to contact our Support Line to avail of free counselling sessions.

Sue Keegan was one such patient who relied on the service to help her through a tough time after she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.

Mum-of-two Sue (51) who is from Crumlin, in Dublin received one-to-one counselling sessions. Sue required hospitalisation for a stem cell transplant while her husband was also hospitalised for separate health issues meaning her children aged 18 and 12 were home alone for seven weeks.

Despite being out of hospital, the whole experience of her cancer journey took its toll and Sue realised she needed some extra help.

“I was thinking to myself ‘I’ll be fine, I’m just going to fight this on my own’ until one day in August I just broke down when I was out shopping with my husband.

“I got on to the Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centre in the hospital and they referred me for counselling. It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s an amazing free service. I’d really encourage anyone who finds themselves in a similar position to do the same,” added Sue, who is now in remission.

Experienced cancer counsellor Deirdre Stanley recently joined the Society’s panel of professional therapists, who mainly work through virtual sessions.

She explains it’s often not just the person who receives the diagnosis who needs support as a cancer diagnosis can incur feelings of “shock, fear and panic”.

She said: “Talking with somebody can help break these feelings down and make them more manageable. People can now access it from anywhere with the remote service, and many actually find it more comforting being able to do it from their own home environment.”

Irish Cancer Society Director of Services Delivery Donal Buggy said: “This has been an extraordinarily challenging time for anyone affected by cancer, with some people isolated from their normal support network of family or friends.

“Our funded counsellors have responded by maintaining the same level of service despite the upheaval of the pandemic, and are continuing to offer it when it is needed most.

“Each of our counsellors are very experienced at working with people affected by cancer. We want to tell people that it’s ok for them to take the first step and reach out, and any concerned family members or loved ones can do the same.”

Anyone affected by cancer whether through their own experience or that of a loved one is encouraged to reach out to the Society’s Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700, or email if they have any worries or concerns or just want to talk.

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