Unique cancer support charity, Charis, has kicked off fundraising efforts to secure finance for its recently approved expansion plans.
The charity, which supports people in Northern Ireland affected by cancer, will almost double the size of its centre. As a result, it will be able to offer greater numbers of cancer patients and those impacted by cancer, complimentary support and therapies.
Local Coleraine woman and Charis Cancer Care centre user Adeline McCollum discusses her journey:
“If there is a wee corner of heaven on earth, Charis is it. The Charis Cancer Centre cares for people diagnosed with cancer, their family, friends and supporters by offering a caring, holistic approach providing psychological and physical support.
For me, Charis has been a big part of my cancer journey since my operation in July 2017. It is a place to take time out, to relax, to forget about the trials and tribulations of life for a short while. I will never forget the kindness shown to me on each and every visit and I will certainly never forget my therapist who continues to help me through one of the most challenging times of my life. The reflexology has made a big difference.
I heard about Charis from a nurse in the Coleraine hospital and I can honestly say I would drive one hundred miles to simply enjoy the peace and tranquillity that this setting offers. My husband Brabazon drives me here for appointments and he too feels completely at ease and enjoys taking time out to relax. Cancer affects everyone in the family so it is important that family members needs are also considered. At Charis everyone works as a team and you feel at home as soon as you walk through the door.
Thankfully medical treatment is relatively easily accessed but Charis is one of the few places that deal with the emotional aspects of cancer.”
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and it is estimated that one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
The new, state-of-the-art expansion phase, where patients and families are treated under one roof, has been designed by Vision Design Architecture. The cutting edge design reflects two complementary aspects of cancer care – the ‘Science of Treatment’, which houses the treatment room facilities, and the ‘Art of Care’, which features more social and interactive areas. All of these services are provided free of charge.
Charis Cancer Care works in conjunction with clinical treatments for cancer. Comfortable treatment rooms are designed for the delivery of complementary therapies by trained practitioners. Support ranges from counselling services and dietary advice, right through to offering treatments such as reflexology and massage.
The expansion phase has been prompted by a significant increase in demand for the charity’s services. Imelda McGucken, Director of Charis Cancer Centre explains:
“For anyone who may not be familiar with Charis Cancer Care or what we provide, the charity was established to support people who are affected by cancer, their family members and families who have been bereaved through cancer. Charis can broaden the services offered to patients coping with diagnosis, detection and treatment. The programme has been designed to complement rather than replace orthodox cancer treatments with the aim of providing physical, psychological and emotional support through the relief of symptoms.
“Over 5,500 people have accessed Charis’ services to date. On average, the centre welcomes in excess of 27 new users per week and with the extension in place that number is likely to double. Highly trained therapists and tutors work with the person as a whole, ensuring they benefit from advice and treatments which are free of charge.”
Charis Cancer Care Board Member Jarlath Conway adds: “The new facility will provide two new treatment rooms for the delivery of complementary therapies by trained practitioners, one counselling room, one beauty therapy room, one rest room and additional office space. We are delighted with the vision for the new centre and the difference it will make for the people who will avail of the expert services.”
“Charis does not receive government funding and relies exclusively on the support from the local community and businesses to raise funds. The annual running costs for the centre are currently in the region of £300,000. To help co-ordinate fundraising we are in the process of appointing a dedicated fundraiser. I can’t thank all our current donors enough. Their generosity makes a massive difference to people’s quality of life and well-being.”
Should you wish to make a donation to Charis to support cancer patients, their families and those bereaved with cancer, please contact Imelda McGucken on T: 028 8676 9217 or email [email protected]
All donations go straight to the charity.