Cancer Care West supports over 3,400 people in 2018 and has seen its numbers double in the last five
The West of Ireland’s largest cancer care support organisation, Cancer Care West, says demands for the services it provides across a seven county region stretching from Donegal to Clare reached “an all-time high”, last year.
Cancer Care West launched its annual report recently as the charity reported a significant increase in demand for all of its services in 2018. Over 3,400 people accessed the charity’s residential, long term accommodation and cancer support services, an increase of over 15 per cent on the previous year.
The charity provided support to over 200 cancer patients and their families from all over Mayo during 2018. The issue of travel for Mayo cancer patients to the charities lodge Inis Aoibhinn has also been identified as a significant issue which resulted in the charity purchasing a new bus in early 2019 specifically to transport Mayo cancer patients and their families to the lodge.
Speaking at the report launch, Richard Flaherty, CEO of Cancer Care West said: "Our Charity has grown dramatically over the last number of years, and we have seen the number of people we support double in the last five years alone. In 2013 we supported just over 1,600 people and in 2018 that figure grew to over 3,400. The expansion of our services into Donegal along with the increased demand and range of services offered at our support centre and within UHG along with the new Mayo bus service has resulted in a record numbers accessing our services.”
"Inis Aoibhinn, our residential facility at University Hospital Galway, operated at 100 per cent occupancy, providing more than 9,500 bed nights to patients & Families undergoing Radiotherapy treatment.
"105 patients from Mayo stayed in the lodge during 2018. Our Cancer Support Centre in Galway received over 7,100 visits throughout the year and our new centre in Letterkenny provided support to over 500 people affected by cancer in its first year in operation” Richard Flaherty says that as cancer affects more people it is imperative that the charity have the resources and space to ensure that as many people as possible have access to our services into the future.
"In response to these future needs Cancer Care West expanded their Galway Support Centre to include a second floor at the beginning of 2018, with fully equipped gym and play therapy room for children. The centre’s footprint expanded from 3,000 to 6,000 square foot within a year. “A cancer diagnosis can be a very stressful time for all family members and difficulties frequently arise for children.
"Included in the expansion of our centre we have created a dedicated play therapy room which will enable us to offer a comprehensive service to children and families affected by cancer. The importance of physical exercise for cancer patients during and after treatment is now well recognised. Our new rehabilitation gym allows us to tailor individual and group exercise plans as part of a wider survivorship programme offered in the centre."