We've helped 1000 people living with cancer throughout Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight through our telephone and online services since the coronavirus pandemic forced us to close our Support Centres six weeks ago.

This is a particularly anxious time for anyone living with cancer. Many are having treatment delayed or are worried about a higher risk of infection and are feeling particularly isolated and vulnerable.

To help, we are providing:

  • Telephone helpline covering our Support Centres across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, Monday to Thursday between 10am and 3pm
  • Telephone counselling
  • Regular one-to-one check-in calls
  • Daily Daisy Bus transporting Isle of Wight patients to their appointments at local hospitals 
  • Distance Reiki, Tai Chi, meditation and QiGong
  • Virtual Sing for Life choir sessions
  • Facebook support group
  • Virtual coffee and catch-up mornings
  • Tech support for clients struggling to access online support
  • Email mentoring and support provided by trained befrienders
  • Dedicated online support featuring advice, videos and information    

We have also been helping local organisations and large national charities to support vulnerable and isolated people living with cancer. The remote support section of our website and our YouTube support videos have each had over 1000 views.  

Bournemouth resident Leanne Chetwynd says Wessex Cancer Trust’s support is giving her something to get up for during lockdown:

At the moment I’m shielding at home because I’m asthmatic and I finished radiotherapy for breast cancer a month ago. At a time when we could really do with a hug or a cup of tea with friends and family, many of us are stuck at home because the things that have been a really valuable part of our recovery from cancer are now unsafe for us to do. It can be really scary and lonely, so while the doors to Wessex Cancer Trust’s support centre in Bournemouth are closed, it’s really reassuring to know I can still feel part of their community by getting support online and over the telephone.

During my time in shielding I lost my beloved Nan. Last week we had her funeral and it broke my heart that I couldn’t go. But Jenny from the support centre did a private meditation session on Zoom with me and her kindness as this sad time helped me so much.

Jeff Trove, who lives in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, says he would be lost without the support Wessex Cancer Trust provides:

I've been having treatment for prostate cancer for the past two years but because of COVID-19 it's been delayed, so it's a particularly anxious time for me. I do think cancer has changed me and so I'd been going to Wessex Cancer Trust's Support Centre a lot. They've been absolutely wonderful to me. They're lovely people and so easy to talk to. I've also been having Reiki, which really helps. For me, their Daisy Bus has been a lifeline because I've been using it to get to my appointments at the QA Hospital in Portsmouth. It's not just the transport though, I've made so many friends on the bus and because we all have cancer we support each other. I'd be lost without it. It's good to know Wessex Cancer Trust is still at the end of the phone and there for me while the Centre is closed.

Colette Cowan, our Head of Service delivery, says she is incredibly proud of our cancer Support Centre Managers who quickly evolved their services so they could carry on supporting existing and new clients living with cancer while the Centres are closed:

Lots of people we help say Wessex Cancer Trust is like having an extended family and our Centre Managers are at the heart of that. At a time most of us are stuck at home, they've gone above and beyond to make sure anyone living with cancer knows they still have somewhere to go.

I've heard many people living with cancer say there are others in harder situations, so they feel guilty asking for support. Please don't. Everyone in the Wessex Cancer Trust community is passionate about helping. I urge anyone who may be worried about symptoms, are struggling with a diagnosis, treatment or recovery, or who may be caring for a loved one with cancer not to wait, hoping things will get easier. We never underestimate how difficult a cancer journey can be, especially now, so please reach out if you need us.

For more information and to access support, click here

With most of our fundraising or events postponed or cancelled, we have set up a Just Giving page to raise money so we can continue to be here for local people living with cancer. To make a donation click here