Roscommon Cancer Support Services will host an open evening and discussion on Tuesday, September 26th at 6.30 pm at Vita House in Roscommon town. The aim is to gather feedback from those affected by cancer and to look at the possibility of forming a support group within the service.
Roscommon Cancer Support Services support those who have been diagnosed as well as the patients’ support networks, including family and friends. It is hoped that an open “kitchen table” discussion will take place in order to allow those in attendance to air their views on potential cancer supports within the county.
Psychotherapist, Geoff Tugwell, believes this is an opportunity for those living in Co. Roscommon and surrounding areas to have their say.
“There has been a conversation about looking at the opportunity to create a group support function within the Roscommon Cancer Support. So rather than individually, can we bring these people together as a group?
“A support group for people who have had a diagnosis and also a support function for people who are part of that, such as next of kin or family members,” he said.
Geoff highlighted the fact that a cancer diagnosis affects family members and friends as well as the individual diagnosed with cancer.
“When somebody hears it (news of a diagnosis) you’re almost left with a feeling of ‘What do I do?’ ‘What can I do?
“What we’re looking to do is to really get the support from those people. It’s to say to them: ‘If we can create the facility, what do you need in the support? What are you looking for?’
“So I guess it’s a bit of reverse at the moment. We’re looking for them (service users) to give us the support. To say: ‘As a diagnosed person, if we came together as a group, this would be very useful for us.’ Or, ‘If we were people that were supporting somebody with a diagnosis, this would be very useful for us.’”
It is hoped to host a series of sessions from September to November in order to gather as much feedback as possible.
“At the early stage we’ve said we’ll try to run three sessions between September and November. We’ll get the feedback and that will allow us to say ‘Well this is what people are saying they want, can we provide this or how can we provide this as Roscommon Cancer Support?’” said Geoff.
According to Geoff, a support group format can have immediate benefits: “In those situations people can often end up supporting themselves. You sit there and somebody talks about something and you immediately go ‘Oh, I’m experiencing that!’ Or it might be simply that you become aware of somebody who lives in the same village or town.”
Roscommon Cancer Support Services encompass the entire county of Roscommon and the goal is to provide easier access to those living further away from Roscommon town.
“What’s to stop us taking it out on the road? I guess that’s another thing we’re looking at. Rather than somebody travelling from the far ends of the county to come to Roscommon town, let’s position this out, but let’s first establish what we need to do to create this support group function.
“September 26th is an opportunity for you to say to us, as somebody who has a diagnosis or somebody who is supporting somebody with a diagnosis, how to structure these support groups or what would be useful,” Geoff said.
Tuesday, September 26th will provide an opportunity for those affected by cancer in Co. Roscommon to play a part in tailoring cancer support services to fit their needs. It’s also an opportunity to meet with the dedicated team at Vita House as well as those on a similar journey when it comes to coping with cancer in Co. Roscommon.