Thousands benefit from free Cancer Care West

OVER 1600 people have passed through Cancer Care West’s Inis Aoibhinn since it opened its doors five and a half years ago.

OVER 1600 people have passed through Cancer Care West’s Inis Aoibhinn since it opened its doors five and a half years ago.

Located on the grounds of University Hospital Galway, it provides accommodation to patients undergoing Radiotherapy treatment at the hospital. The residence provides a ‘home away from home’ environment for patients comprising of 33 en suite bedrooms with facilities for a patient’s family member or guest to share.

Inis Aoibhinn allows for complete patient privacy and independence while also having the comfort of 24 hour nurse availability.

Brian, from Mohill in is a former resident, he said, “I didn’t want to stay in Inis Aoibhinn as I thought everyone would be talking about cancer. After the second day in the hotel I was staying at, the nurses asked me to go and look at Inis Aoibhinn again. I had a look and it was exactly like a hotel - I could have brought my wife there. I moved in and how wrong was I. The patients talk about everything but cancer.”

He could not believe the range of services on offer through Cancer Care West: “Everything was laid on. There were all sorts of support services.”

Brian received his radiotherapy treatment daily and outside of this time he went for walks and went out with the other residents. “There were fifteen or sixteen of us and we used to go out for meals once or twice a week and we’d have a ball. You could have been out with sixteen people who had nothing wrong with them, hair pieces and all and it was full of craic. Any night we weren’t out, we’d play cards or there was a musician in the house and he used to play.”

Like many of the patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis, Brian availed of the psychological services on offer. “I found it great. Sometimes the cancer gets you down and the psychologist at the cancer support centre talked me through it. There was also a yoga and art class.”

“It is an experience I will never forget,” he adds. “Without that support, the treatment would have been very very hard.”

Richard Flaherty, Cancer Care West’s CEO said,” It is a privilege for Cancer Care West’s staff and volunteers to support cancer patients and their families on their cancer journeys with our residential and cancer support services. We don’t charge for any of our services and are hugely reliant on voluntary donations and fundraising to meet the cost of providing these services. With the 10th anniversary of one of our biggest fundraising events - the Galway Bay 10, coming up on October 6, we are hoping to raise €100,000 for Cancer Care West and are appealing to anyone whose life has been touched by cancer to consider supporting the event either through sponsorship fundraising or making a donation on the day.

For more information, contact Cancer Care West on 091 545 000 or www.cancercarewest.ie