A unique cancer support group is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.
The Leighton Linslade Cancer Support Group had its first official meeting on March 27, 2005.
Sadly one of the brave women who’d been instrumental in setting it up died the previous weekend.
She and co-founder Hilary Lennon met through their Macmillan nurse and quickly became firm friends.
They were united in their desire to start a support group to cover all cancers and eventually organised a leaflet and a community centre venue.
From these modest beginnings, the group is now 40 strong and meets every Friday at the Salvation Army Hall in Lammas Walk.
Spokesman John Dickin, 68, joined in May 2008, after he’d been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Three years later, the disease struck again, this time as chronic myeloid leukaemia.
The former policeman and father-of-two said: “The support you get from the group is completely different to the support you get from your family.
“When you first hear the word ‘cancer,’ you think it’s all over, that it’s a death sentence.
“At home it can be the elephant in the room – your attiutude tends to be ‘better get on with life and not talk about it too much.
“But the group gives you the opportunity to speak to others in the same situation, who are familiar with the treatment. I’m the sort of person who wants to find out everything there is to know about the cancer, although not everyone feels the same.”
John’s operation to remove his bowel tumour was completely successful – which made the second diagnosis even more of a shock.
But he’d stayed with group because he’d made so many friends, who all had so much in common.
“At the end of the day we’re a social group as well as a support group,” he explained. “We welcome everyone, whatever their cancer and wherever they are in their treatment.”
The LLCSG will celebrate its landmark anniversary on Friday with MP Andrew Selous.
> For more details call Pat Armstrong on 01525 378759 or visit http://e-voice.org.uk/leightoncancersupport/