Charities play a huge part in the search for new or improved treatments and even – whisper it – cures for cancers. They also support cancerees and their families in all kinds of ways, as well being an invaluable source of good information.
In the UK, the National Health Service shoulders the main responsibility for providing care and administering treatment to those with cancer. However, much of the groundwork, the graft, the research, the inspiration and the sheer determination that will one day conquer cancer emanates from charities. Many charities work hand in hand with the NHS, of course, but still rely on donations and fund-raising to finance their work.
Here are a few of my personal favourites (click on the charity name to go to their website and find out more about their work):
www.breastcancercare.org.uk – Their website is chock-full of information, they run a helpline and tirelessly raise money to fund research
www.macmillan.org.uk – Working so hard to ensure no-one has to face cancer alone and unsupported. They offer emotional, medical and financial advice over the phone, on their website and in person at drop-in centres around the UK
www.mariecurie.org.uk – Caring and supporting people with terminal illness and their families
www.drhadwentrust.org – A charity committed to finding and funding alternatives to using animals in medical research. I wish more people were aware that there are humane and more effective ways of finding treatments and cures for diseases than testing and experimenting on animals
www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk – Training dogs to detect early cancers and other diseases using scent. They also train dogs to be medical alert assistance dogs – something that can improve someone’s quality of life immeasurably
www.mynewhair.org – Founded by famous hairdresser Trevor Sorbie, this charity gives advice and support to women with medical hair loss (including through chemotherapy). They also provide training for professional hairdressers to learn expert wig cutting & styling
www.knittedknockersuk.com – Volunteers knitting beautiful 100% cotton breast prostheses, which are free of charge for women who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy. A comfy alternative to silicone prosthetics. Their heart-warming slogan is “Made with love, filled with hope”
www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk – A charity that runs free workshops to teach make-up and skincare techniques to those undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Supporting women in a very practical and positive way
There are many, many more amazing cancer charities out there. Please feel free to put your favourites in the comments.