Breast Cancer Support Hub Opens In Belfast

A breast cancer charity has opened its first ever information & support hub at The Park Centre in Belfast.

Pretty 'n' Pink's new facility will offer a new range of support services for breast cancer patients and their families, including counselling support and complementary therapies, with the hope of easing the burden on health services.

Around 1500 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland each year.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Daniel Baker was joined by politicians and health professionals to open the facility as well as the family and friends of late Pretty 'n' Pink founder Noleen Adair.

A Belfast woman, Noleen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 22. She devoted her life to her charity and helping take away the stress of a diagnosis, even if it were only for a short while.

Noleen passed away at the age of 35, and today the charity is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees and operated by a small team of staff and volunteers. The hub opened last week on what would have been her 41st birthday.

Pretty 'n' Pink has grown to support both men and women with the disease as well as their families. It provides a lifeline for those who may be struggling with the financial difficulties that a cancer diagnosis can bring.

2019 alone saw over 300 patients receive over £62,000 of financial support which can help with things like extra travel costs to and from hospital appointments, utility bills, and the purchase of post-surgery underwear, as well as respite breaks and family outings.
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Speaking from the launch, Charity Operations Manager and Noleen's sister Leanne Rooney said: "When Noleen was ill, we as a family all went through her breast cancer with her and can relate first-hand to the stresses and problems that both the patient and their family might be faced with. I am so proud of my sister and the charity that she started, and humbled to be able to help carry on her legacy. Myself and my family are very excited to be here this evening for the opening of the new Hub. We have already had some patients able avail of the new counselling and complementary therapy services, which we believe to be imperative to the emotional, mental, and physical health needs of those patients we support. Going forward our goal is to extend the new services to partners, children, and family members as we feel this will be of huge benefit to families.

"We also have a charity shop based at The Park Centre, which has been open for 6 years now. When we were offered a second unit at the centre we believed it to be the perfect location for the new Information & Support Hub due to the close proximity to local hospitals including the main Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, as well as handy motorway links keeping us accessible to patients outside of the Belfast area. The ample parking at the centre is another very positive factor to patients visiting the Hub.

"The Hub opening night also coincides with what would have been Noleen's 41st birthday and it is great to have the support of her friends here this evening and also over the last number of years."

Lord Mayor, Councillor Daniel Baker said the new facility will not only provide cancer patients with an additional support network but will also be of benefit to wider family circles who inevitably are also impacted by the illness as they care for their loved one.

"I look forward to seeing how the work of Pretty 'n' Pink's Support Hub will benefit both the local and wider community long in to the future," Cllr Baker commented.

It's estimated that the charity needs to raise in excess of £200,000 per year in order to fund the Information & Support Hub, as well as funding the new Patient Support Services, Support Fund, Patient Social Outings, and Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns. At present the main bulk of charity funds come from public donations and the charity continues to fundraise year-round, through events such as bag packs, fundraising nights out, an October Gala Ball, and through 'Pink Week', also held each October.

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