1st Dec, 2020

Cancer patient advised to shield throughout lockdown finds lifeline through Macmillan phone support service

Laura Kearns 20th Nov, 2020

A CANCER patient from Leamington who was advised to shield during the first lockdown found a lifeline through a charity’s telephone support service.

Sue Arnold was diagnosed with anal cancer in February.

Her treatment ended shortly after lockdown began, leaving her feeling depressed and alone.

But the 56-year-old turned to Macmillan Cancer Support’s telephone buddy service for support.

It matches those affected by cancer with a trained volunteer so they can discuss any worries.

Sue said: “After treatment had finished, I was advised to shield, so I was even more isolated as I wasn’t able to see my friends or family. Even though my parents were adding my order to their online shop, they brought it down but I couldn’t spend a lot of time with them.

“A week after my treatment finished, it sank in I was on my own.

“The service has made a big difference to my day to day life. Jo, my Macmillan telephone buddy, has given me so much support and she always has a positive attitude. The thing I like most about my time with Jo is I don’t see or hear from people for days on end and she is the only person I speak to that week. We are on the phone for a good hour and I look forward to her call. It makes me feel less lonely and isolated during this uncertain time.

“Jo is very caring and supportive. She always asks about my family and what I’ve been doing during the week. She has a real interest in my life.”

Jo Rowney works at Npower and has volunteered for the charity since 2018 in a partnership between Npower and Macmillan.

Jo said: “I wanted to volunteer to help people who are going through cancer or recovering from it. Through personal experience of losing someone very close to me to cancer l know the impact that this disease has.

“Sometimes talking to someone who is not a relative or friend is good as you can share thoughts or fears that you don’t want to burden those close to you with.

Or alternatively the person can talk about anything but cancer if they want to too. That’s why l wanted to do this. Initially l trained to be a face to face buddy but l love being a telephone buddy now instead.”

To find out more about the service or to volunteer as a buddy visit www.macmillan.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/telephone-buddies or call 0808 808 00 00.

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