12 January 2016
Kath, left, at the project’s launch in Wolverhampton, with the city’s Mayor and Mayoress.
Being diagnosed with cancer is the toughest thing most of us will ever face. Not just for the person diagnosed but for everyone caring for and supporting them.
The Macmillan Cancer Advocacy and Support Project at the Beth Johnson Foundation is there for anyone aged 50 or over who has been affected by cancer.
Kath Curley is the project manager, covering Wolverhampton and Staffordshire.
'Our team consists of staff as well as volunteers. Together we aim to help improve the quality of life of older people affected by cancer by helping them to resolve any issues they may be facing. This means we deal with a range of issues such as treatment and care, employment, and financial and emotional difficulties.
'One lady we helped, Sandra, a 52-year-old with terminal lung cancer, was worried about her son’s future after she’d gone.
'The main issue in Sandra’s case was housing as she was worried that her son wouldn’t be able to stay in their house because he wasn’t on the tenancy. Our volunteer advocate voiced Sandra’s concerns with the DWP and continued to liaise with them until the tenancy had been transferred.
'Our volunteer advocate visited Sandra regularly and helped get more support for her son. They also recognised that Sandra had mobility issues and arranged for adjustments to be made in her home.
'When Sandra passed away we continued to provide support to her husband, helping arrange the benefits and housing support he was entitled to.
'The most rewarding part of our work is the face-to-face contact with people affected by cancer, knowing you’re making a difference to people’s lives at a difficult time or when they are vulnerable.'
Kath and the advocacy team also work closely with other Macmillan projects and services in the area, such as the Information and Support Centre at New Cross Hospital, and the welfare rights advice services across the Black Country.
She also feels Macmillan’s reputation has helped with reaching out to health and social care professionals who are in contact with people affected by cancer.
Her team has helped raise funds for Macmillan through World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, the most recent being at the Wolverhampton library.
If you think you or someone you know could benefit from the Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project, or you’d like to volunteer, call 01782 844036.
Sandra is a fictional name used to protect her families’ identities.
No one should face cancer alone. For information, advice or a simply a listening ear, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0800 808 0000. Lines are open are Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm.