A group set up to help patients and their carers has been branded a ‘lifeline’ by its members.
The weekly peer support group held at the Hospice was set up six years ago to provide a place where patients who are either currently going through treatment, or have finished treatment, and their carers can talk to people in the same situation.
All the group members have attended other sessions with us and joined the Peer Support Group once those sessions came to an end. However, the group is open to anybody with a life limiting illness or carer who feel they could benefit from the support.
Tony Ruth from Bevington Close in Burnley has been attending the Peer Support Group since it began and says that the group is the highlight of his week.
The 55-year-old who is in remission from testicular cancer attends with his wife Kim who is his carer.
“The peer support group is a great support. We have all either gone through a difficult time or are still going through one, so we all appreciate how everyone is feeling and can support each other when we aren’t feeling great. We really have made some good friendships,” says Tony.
“We come here every Friday afternoon, sometimes there are around 18 of us and other weeks there might just be a handful of us. We get together and have a brew and a natter, whether that’s talking about gardening, baking, football or whatever it might be. Usually we bring cakes in and sometimes we sell craft items that we have made to raise funds for the Hospice. We also have two annual trips out, one at Christmas and another at Easter and sometimes meet up for lunch too.
“There’s a real range of people who attend with different illnesses. But contrary to what people might think it really isn’t a gloomy place, we actually have a good laugh.”
Tony has been attending Pendleside Hospice off and on for the past 22 years following his first diagnosis with cancer.
Kim said: “Pendleside Hospice is such a fantastic place; we would really be lost without it. The support we have had over the years has been boundless – they have been our rock. It’s such a positive place to be and isn’t just a place to come for end of life care as many people think.”
Tony added: “I really enjoy being able to attend the Peer Support Group as it allows me to give something back by helping other people who are going through difficult times.”