Writing ‘My Cancer Journey’

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Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is holding its first ‘Writing my Cancer Journey’ sessions in Coleraine this month.

‘Writing my Cancer Journey’ is one of the many care service complementary therapies that Cancer Focus NI offers patients to help them cope with their illness.

Patients from the greater Coleraine, Portrush, Portstewart and Ballymoney area and beyond are welcome.

Sessions are open to anyone going through or after their treatment and will be held at the Sandel Centre, 6 Knocklyn Road, Coleraine, on Thursday May 19 and 26 and June 2, 9 and 16, from 10am to 1pm.

Breast cancer patient Kathy Farrell (40), from Belfast, has used the service and said it was a real lifeline for her.

The mum of three was diagnosed five years ago and has gone through seven operations including a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction and a hysterectomy, as well as having chemotherapy.

“I had been suffering from depression and anxiety – I was seeing a Cancer Focus NI counsellor and she thought the writing group might help me.

“I love it because I found that writing things down helped process what I’d been through and helped me work through my own experience.

“There’s no pressure to share your experiences – it’s all very confidential - but once people feel comfortable in the group they often open up and talk about what they’re going through.

The feedback from the sessions is really beneficial. My group was fantastic and we still meet once a month for coffee. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone.”

Cancer Focus NI counsellor Leo McGarry said: “The written word is one of the most powerful forms of expression, and no more than when you are coping with cancer.

You don’t need to have any writing experience and we don’t worry about formalities like spelling and punctuation.

“All you need is a pen and paper (or laptop) and the freedom to express whatever is in your heart and mind. It’s all about helping you express your emotions and feelings and enabling you to feel heard.”

To sign up for the sessions please email care@cancerfocusni.org or call 9066 3281.