A new Macmillan Information and Support Centre has opened at the entrance to Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest to help those looking for advice and support about cancer.
The Centre has been officially opened by 10-year-old Ethan Llewelyn-Dimon, from Whitland. He recently raised a staggering £3,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support Wales by growing his hair to make a wig for the Little Princess Trust. Ethan’s family has been affected by cancer twice. His aunty Jo and mamgu had cancer. Sadly he never got to meet his aunty, as she passed away before he was born. Thankfully his Mamgu survived although she had three operations and lost her hair during the treatment. Ethan decided to grow his hair long enough to be made into a wig for children going through cancer and wanted to raise money as well to give something back to those who helped his family.
The new Information and Support Centre is open 9am – 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Helen Wood and Rachel Kersey, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Coordinators, will be in the Centre to offer information and support.
Helen Wood said, “Being told that you have cancer is one of the hardest things that you hear, and it can be a scary time where sometimes you just need someone who you can ask for support and information about what is out there that might help. This is why we developed the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and have been supporting people in Pembrokeshire for the past six years. We are there for anyone affected by cancer in many different ways from emotional support and someone to talk to, help to access psychological support from specialist Cancer Counsellors or a referral to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Team. We can provide both electronic and hard copies of the various Macmillan resources or signpost to other local and national organisations or support networks.”
The pandemic meant support was only available over the phone but the opening of the Centre means face to face meetings are once again possible, but for the time being it must be a booked appointment to help keep everyone as safe as possible.
Rachel Kersey said, “It is always a privilege to be able to help, no question is too small and if you are unsure of what you need, just give us a call on 01437 773859.”
Anna Tee, Partnership Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said, “Macmillan is delighted to have designed and funded this fantastic new space for people who need cancer information in collaboration with Hywel Dda.”
Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board said, “This is a service that is provided throughout Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and when circumstances allow, we will reach out to local businesses and attend events. The support service is here for people with concerns around a cancer diagnosis whether that’s the individual, friends or family. We are urging patients to come forward for diagnostic tests as we are concerned that many are still not seeking the care they need due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We want people who suspect they have cancer to know we are very much open for business.”
The way the public access NHS services has changed and the Welsh Government is encouraging people to get to know the breadth of NHS services and options available to them as part of its Help Us, Help You campaign. The Macmillan support service can help with support and advice. The Health Board are also urging people to phone their local GP surgery if they think they might have symptoms of cancer, such as a new lump, pain, bleeding or sudden weight loss.
The Macmillan Information and Support Centre can be contacted by telephoning: 01437 773 859 or email: MacmillanCISSPembrokeshire.HDD@wales.nhs.uk
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Picture attached of Centre’s official opening. Left to Right – Helen Wood, Ethan Llewelyn-Dimon and Rachel Kersey. With Ethan cutting the ribbon to declare the Centre officially open.
Second picture from left to right: Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse; Helen Ley, Macmillan Engagement Lead; Rachel Kersey, Macmillan CISS coordinator; Helen Wood, Macmillan CISS coordinator; Ethan Llewellyn-Dimon, Anthony Lorton, Macmillan skin cancer clinical nurse specialist; Anna Tee, Macmillan Partnership Manager; Bethan Andrews, Service Delivery Manager and Helen Johns, Hospital Service Manager.