New Cancer Therapy For Local Communities

An exciting new project funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre is providing an excellent opportunity to develop a complementary therapy service within local communities. This will give people affected by cancer an opportunity to have treatments closer to their own homes.

Currently this service has been delivered by Friends of the Cancer Centre therapists in partnership with the Belfast Trust within the Cancer Centre inpatient wards and for outpatients in the Macmillan Support and Information Centre. Some clients currently have to travel from many parts of Northern Ireland to benefit from this service.

Complementary therapy is the name given to a number of therapies such as massage, aromatherapy and reflexology which can help to reduce stress, tension and anxiety, improve sleep and improve quality of life.

Janet Morrison, Centre Manager of the Support and Information Centre believes that this service will provide valuable support to patients who have cancer.

"Patients tell us how wonderful it is for them to have complementary therapy, and how they would love it closer to home. This project will also allow the service to be extended to carers, helping them better manage their caring role."

The pilot has also created a bespoke and fully accredited Open College Network training programme, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, to train Complementary Therapists to treat people who have had a diagnosis of cancer.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative and calling on Complementary Therapists to come forward to train, Colleen Shaw, Director of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said, "Feedback from those who have enjoyed the benefits of Complementary Therapy is extremely enthusiastic and cancer patients and carers tell us that the treatments help them to cope better with anxiety and stress.

"We are therefore delighted to be extending our support through this far reaching venture. By sharing their expertise and experience with fellow professionals our Friends’ funded trainers will empower others to take these valuable treatments into the heart of communities right across the Province. I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who donates or fund raises on our behalf for initiatives such as this just wouldn’t be possible without you."

Pilot projects headed up by Tracy McAloney are already running in the Greater Belfast area. Patsy McDaniel is developing pilot projects in other regional areas such as Coleraine, Antrim and Downpatrick. Patsy is currently working in partnership with local communities in other areas to develop this service.

For more information about how to avail of the free service or if you are a complementary therapist who would like to get involved, please contact;

Tracy.mcaloney@belfasttrust.hscni.net (Greater Belfast area)

Patsy.mcdaniel@belfasttrust.hscni.net (Regional area)

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