By supporting Q Radiothon you will be making a real difference to the lives of people affected by cancer and terminal illness across Northern Ireland. People like Alan from Bangor.
Alan Loughlin (45) is a Senior Social Worker in a Children’s Home. He has has two kids, Arianna (10) and Abel (5).
Alan’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2019. Following surgery and chemotherapy, Alan is now thankfully cancer free. He shares his story of how he coped with his cancer journey in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think I was roughly on the third round of chemo when the first lockdown happened, so it was all a bit of a nightmare. Prior to that I had been attending the McDermott unit in the Ulster Hospital but during that period I actually ended up unable to get the treatment because I developed Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). So, unfortunately what happened was then I would need to go and pick up my medication from the Ulster Hospital instead of going in. Personally, I had to live in isolation and I was lucky enough to live in my friend Phil’s friend’s house for a while when he was selling so I could stay there and turned out it was the best thing to do as my family got Covid.
“I first came across Action Cancer via their complementary therapies available on site at the Ulster Hospital. The therapist would get me into a very peaceful mindful state and then she would apply a mix of aromatherapy oils that she made up specifically for me. I then took an aromatherapy stick away with me which helped me during lockdown when I was stuck on my own at times and feeling anxious and depressed. I certainly used it and I really did bring back the calm feelings that I had during the therapy.
“I would describe Action Cancer as a godsend. I think what they do is absolutely amazing. What happens with cancer isn’t just physical but also psychological. There’s obviously a major physical component and the NHS are amazing but Action Cancer can help you deal with all the other things that happen, the emotional impacts of when you receive a cancer diagnosis. Having a service where you are able to receive complementary therapies, counselling and the Positive Living Programme free of charge is just fantastic. The programme can help you to identify opportunities within the crisis and it will help you to plan on what you want to move forward on and how you can change things, rather than ending up focusing on all the negative things. Depression is highly prevalent after a cancer diagnosis and the mental health services provided by Action Cancer are second to none and absolutely recommended.
“Action Cancer have had to change the way that they work during the pandemic but certainly the services are still operational. They are very focused in being able to provide online services such as the Positive Living Programme that I attended online in November. I found this to be a fantastic experience. It was fun and it was great to see other people who are in the same/similar situations or you know maybe worse situations than you and seeing how well they were managing things and how they were coping.
“I think that Action Cancer is a lifeline when you consider the prevalence of cancer in or society and consider how pushed the NHS is. It is extremely important that Action Cancer survives and that there is something like that for people who are probably at the most lonely and anxious point of their life. Action Cancer provide a lifeline in order to enable you to sort of piece together your life again at the end of that and to work out what’s going to be best for you.
“Please give generously to the Q Radiothon appeal. Action Cancer is 100% worth it. I hope you never need their services but if you do it is a fantastic resource to call upon.”