Mayo Cancer Support seeks council help to maintain services

The chairman of Mayo Cancer Support (Rock Rose House ) has appealed to the elected members of Mayo County Council to donate funds to the charity on a yearly basis to help the organisation maintain services to the community at their current level.

Seamus Moran, chairperson of Mayo Cancer Support, made a presentation to the elected members of the council at their July meeting this week, stating: "We have seen significant improvements in cancer treatments over the 20 years, but unfortunately the incident rates of cancer is increasing all the time and recently the WHO has identified that Ireland has the third fastest number of new cancer incidents in the world behind Australia and New Zealand.

"With an incident rate of 374 per 100,000 population, in the context of of Mayo that means approximately 488 new cancer diagnoses in the year. So the services we offer and the demand for those services will continue to increase and we are not going to see them go away any time soon into the future."

He went on to outline the issues facing the charity in continuing to keep providing their current level of service, saying: "We have to fundraise 90 per cent of our costs, unfortunately we don't have any corporate donor or any one individual donor who gives us money on a guaranteed basis and that is a big issue throughout the year - we do respect the fact we get great support from people around Mayo for the past 20 years that has put us in the position to do that.

"If this service was not provided by our charity, the responsibility would fall back on the HSE and the government to cover the financial and administrative burden - if it was not for what Rock Rose House provides in this county and similar organisations around the county and country.

"I am appealing to you here throughout the term of the council to look at donating funds to Rock Rose House on a yearly basis to help us support our services.

"For the last four years we have been fortunate that we have been able to keep the show on the road, three of those four years we ran a cumulative deficit of over €100,000; were it not for the fact of the good work done in prior years, we would not have had the money in the kitty and we would have had to look at curtailing services.

"As chairperson of the board I don't want to oversee a situation that in a time when demand is increasing, we have to cut back our services. So I am reaching out to you all as individual councillors - you reach out to the people of Mayo for their votes and we reach out with help from our services when there is a cancer diagnosis in a family."

The elected members praised the work done by the organisation over the past two decades and Cathaoirleach of the council, Cllr Brendan Mulroy (FF ) said: "Given the fact that we have only 138,000 around in Mayo and 488 new people every year are presenting with cancer I think the onus would be on each and every individual councillor through our General Municipal Allocation in our areas to have the conversation about the funding of rock rose house, I don't think anybody would say you didn't deserve the funding."

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind ) added: "We will be happy to give what we can - the only problem is that our funding is going down by year, ye are a very deserving cause and the goodwill towards ye is there from the people and we have to consider that, we will do that in our area and I am sure in the other three districts they will do the same."

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