This article was originally published in the Mossley Correspondent, sister paper of the Saddleworth Independent. For this, I spoke to Derek and staff at the charity about their work with the Cancer Warriors at one of their coffee mornings.
A Carrbrook cancer survivor is looking for premises in Tameside to carry on the work of a support group he started in Saddleworth.
Derrick Evans has battled the disease three times in the last 10 years, and set-up Cancer Warriors to provide a social place for sufferers to meet without feeling like “patients.”
The group achieved charity status 12 months ago and meets in Uppermill at the Reclamation Room on the third Tuesday of every month. There are also monthly coffee mornings at Stamford Park in Ashton.
Tameside, as well as Saddleworth residents, regularly attend along with representatives from Macmillan and local businesses like ‘Reiki Bradbury’ who offers taster sessions.
Derrick explained: “When I was first diagnosed, there was no support network in the area.
“Having a support network is so important to beating cancer, and you can only beat it if you’ve got a strong desire to get through the tough times.
“People meet up here but also keep in contact outside of the coffee mornings, which shows how useful the support can be.”
Cancer Warriors, who achieved charity status in March 2016, has been offering support in Uppermill since June 2016.
Stephanie Fitton, Cancer Warriors secretary, said: “Once you’ve got cancer, you’re always defined by it, but this isn’t a clinical environment and we don’t treat anyone differently.
“We find people are more open to support when they’re comfortable in a warm environment like this.
“If we can help someone with advice and help from the charities, that’s great, but if the least we can do is get someone out of the house for half an hour then that’s just as good.”
Gemma Marshall, joint owner of Scona at the Reclamation Room, said: “We wanted a café where everybody is welcome, and I love the idea that people can come together and just share their experiences.
“A lot of groups are held in hospitals which are so cold and clinical but we liked the idea of being able to offer something different. We feel very privileged Derrick asked us to host the coffee mornings.”
Cancer Warriors are now looking to move into a permanent building in Tameside with space for daily drop-in sessions as well as rooms for support teams to offer information, advice, and therapies.
To find out more, visit www.cancerwarriors.co.uk or follow them on Facebook ‘Cancer Warriors UK’ or Twitter @warriorscancer
Ebenezer Congregational Church in Uppermill has donated £125 to Cancer Warriors thanks to donations from kind hearted attendees at services over the Christmas period.