8 October 2015
This September at Macmillan Cancer Support we are celebrating our annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning which takes place on Friday 25th September. It’s the perfect chance to catch up over a cuppa and a slice of cake all the while knowing it’s for a great cause and raising awareness of the 2.5 million people currently living with cancer in the UK.
Linda Hough joined Macmillan Cancer Support in 2008 and has recently been promoted as the Support & Information Service Manager across Royal Stoke Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford. She is championing the event and encouraging everyone in Staffordshire to get involved.
One very important part of Linda’s role as the Support & Information Service Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Staffordshire is to publicise exactly how Macmillan help people in the local area, where you can find them and what services they provide so that the information and support available is as accessible as possible for everyone.
Linda says 'when people contact us, we listen to what they have to say and assess their information and support needs before providing the right help. I update the clinical teams with any news, reports, changes in services or alert them of any new support groups which in turn allows them to share this information directly with people affected by cancer who may want to use these services available to them.'
She adds 'I have met with thousands of people affected by cancer and no two people are the same. I have referred patients to our cancer psychologist at a time when they had lost all sense of who they were and didn’t know how to move forward in living with life after cancer. I have also applied for grants for them to help pay for those extra costs incurred because of having cancer such as; needing new clothes because of any change in your weight, helping towards fuel bills if you’re feeling cold all of the time, or even a laptop for a young person to still interact with friends on social media if they can’t see them in person to avoid risking an infection.'
In addition to working with the clinical teams within the hospital setting Macmillan also acts as a go-between with other local services such as the Fresh Hair Salon based in the Cancer Centre at Stoke. They also support Look Good Feel Better who provide monthly workshops at Hoar Cross Hall for ladies affected by cancer to look at skincare and applying make-up. Macmillan understand cancer can knock somebody’s confidence when they have to think about buying and styling wigs and wanting to still feel feminine.
The needs of someone affected by cancer vary greatly and Macmillan professionals are able to help with a number of different things. Linda says 'I have been a listening ear for patients on wards as well as in the centres. Many people keep in touch with us and it’s great to see the change in them days, weeks and even years down the line.'
For Linda the best part of her job is working directly with someone affected by cancer and she believes that giving that person the time to express their concerns and ask questions or simply talk about how tough life is right now is so important in how they leave the centre. Having time to talk to someone outside of their family is extremely beneficial.
September 16th sees a Cancer Awareness day the Victoria Hall in Hanley, and Linda would encourage anybody in the Stoke community to get involved. The day has three main objectives; to raise awareness of cancer and its signs and symptoms, secondly it is for those who have been diagnosed to hear more about the support available to them locally and finally, it gives everybody an opportunity to talk about cancer which for some remains a taboo subject.
If you’re facing cancer it can sometimes be worrying and you may often feel alone. It’s important to know that there support out there for you. If you have questions about cancer, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00