The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson, joined Macmillan Cancer Support, service users, health professionals and Move More team members at the official launch of the Move More programme in the area.
Move More is delivered in partnership by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Western Health and Social Care Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Many people living with cancer want to make positive changes to their lives and taking steps to have a healthier lifestyle can be a big part of this. Move More ensures that everyone living with cancer in Northern Ireland is aware of the benefits of physical activity and is enabled to choose to become and to stay active at a level that’s right for them. Move More is funded for three years by Macmillan Cancer Support and available in every council area in Northern Ireland.
Alexandra McMeekin, Services Project Manager for Macmillan in Northern Ireland said: “There are 82,000 people living with cancer in NI – almost one in two of us will experience cancer at some point in our lifetime. Physical activity is safe during and after most types of cancer treatment and can help to reduce the side effects of this treatment, prevent the occurrence of other long-term conditions, and reduce the risk of cancer spreading or returning. Move More aims to provide the support which people living with cancer need to become and remain active and enjoy an improved quality of life. We are delighted to celebrate the positive impact of the programme within Causeway Coast and Glens.”
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson added: “As a Council we are committed to supporting healthy lifestyle choices for all our residents, and the Move More scheme is a fantastic example of this in action. While a cancer diagnosis can be a traumatic event, Move More encourages people to embrace the benefits of an active lifestyle and puts the focus firmly on positivity. I am very proud that we are able to offer this service across the Borough and I want to offer a special word of encouragement to all of our Move More participants – your strength and determination is an example to us all.”
Move More Coordinator for Causeway Coast and Glens, Catherine Bell-Allen is responsible for providing the guidance, motivation and opportunities that people may need to become and remain active. She says: “By working closely with participants I can see the difference this scheme is making to the lives of those living with cancer within the area. If you think you could benefit then please get in touch – often taking this first step can be the hardest but as Move More Coordinator I will be there to guide and support you throughout the programme. Remember, there is a level of activity to suit everyone, and the scheme will be tailored to each individual’s needs. I want to encourage people to realise their potential and embrace a better quality of life and I’m greatly encouraged by the success of Move More so far within Causeway Coast and Glens.”
Commenting on the impact of the programme Kay Hack, from the North Coast said, “I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in January 2019. At the time I was travelling with work, so I was actually diagnosed at University College Hospital in London (UCLH). The care and support I received from all the staff at UCLH was fantastic, although this meant being away from my family and friends which was of course very difficult.
“I had always been a very active person so to help me cope with my treatment I would try to get out for a walk every day – although sometimes this was only to the end of the corridor!
“I knew Catherine, the Macmillan Move More Coordinator, as we used to run together in the past. I did a lot of parkruns – in fact it was the steady decline in my running times that prompted me to have a medical check-up. Once I was home from hospital, my goal was to get back to Portrush parkrun, and it was there that I met up with Catherine who told me about the Macmillan Move More programme.
“I started the classes after Christmas and regularly join the pilates and circuits classes as well as the drop-in sessions in the gym. I have just recently been given the all clear to go swimming again which is fantastic, and the staff at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre have been very supportive in accommodating me.
“Exercise has been vital to my recovery and to helping with my wellbeing. I like the structure of the Macmillan programme – it encourages me to get up and get out of the house and gives me some routine. It is also very encouraging to see the progress of others on the programme. I think it is a brilliant initiative and shows what can be achieved when the different agencies all work together.”
David Gibbs (46) from Portrush comments, “I was diagnosed with cancer in April 2019. I found I wasn’t able to work and was stuck in the house a lot. When I mentioned this to a Macmillan nurse in the City Hospital, she told me about the Move More programme in my area.
“I got in touch with Catherine and she told me about classes. I used to be very active and played a lot of badminton, but the treatment had left me very tired. It was good to get out to the classes to join in and to start using my muscles again and get some light exercise.
“I also really benefitted from meeting other people who were going through similar journeys. We can chat about things and it is good to have that added support. It is good to get out and about and concentrate on other things and not just the illness.”
Paula Mulholland (63) from Loughgiel adds, “I was diagnosed with a tumour on my lung and following investigations I had surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital in 2014. I had read about the importance of exercise after surgery and as a former health professional, I know the importance of self-care.
“Following surgery, I had tried walking, but my mood was low, and my confidence wasn’t great. I couldn’t really go out of the house without my husband and that wasn’t like me. When I found out about the Move More programme it was a real lifeline for me and changed everything. I joined classes with Catherine who was amazing at encouraging and motivating people to get involved.
“It really helped being with peers who had been in the same situation and knew how I was feeling and what I was going through. I started going to classes, as well as doing pilates and swimming. It helped me mentally as well as physically and I am in a much better place now thanks to the Move More programme. It gave me back my life and now I am living life to the full.”
People living with cancer can be referred onto Move More NI by a healthcare professional or can also self-refer onto the project. To get involved with Move More in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area, contact Move More Coordinator Catherine Bell-Allen at [email protected] or call 0759 7399 765.
If you would like to help Macmillan raise invaluable funds to support services for people living with cancer in Northern Ireland, visit macmillan.org.uk or call our Supporter Care Team on 0300 1000 200 today.