COMMUNITY

Dedicated founder of Co. Tipperary cancer support group steps down 

Dedicated founder of Co. Tipperary cancer support group steps down 

Cancer Care & Share founder Mary Hickey with Breda Parle when she was presented with a bouquet of flowers at a meal with volunteers from the support group

The work of Carrick-on-Suir's Cancer Care & Share support group is ending as its founder Mary Hickey has stepped down from her role. 

Mary founded the support group four years ago and  worked tirelessly to provide support services for cancer patients and their families in Carrick-on-Suir and its environs. 

This was not an easy decision for Mary, whose energy powered a team of local volunteers to help everyone touched by cancer. 

The cancer survivor has decided to step down from her volunteer work with the support group due to her own health issues  as well as family commitments. 

 Mary set up Carrick-on-Suir's Cancer Care & Share group in September, 2015. Her vision was to reach out to local people suffering from cancer and she was acutely aware of the limited facilities available locally. 

The support group provides counselling, therapies, prosthesis, bra and wig fitting services and  drivers to bring cancer patients to and from chemotherapy and radium sessions. 

It also runs regular coffee mornings in the Nano Nagle Resource Centre for people to drop in and chat and liaised with other support groups. 

Mary thanks everyone involved in Cancer Care & Share for their support of Cancer Care & Share over the last four years. 

They include the staff of the Nano Nagle Resource Centre, who provided rooms for therapists, one on one consultations, the fittings and meetings.  

She thanks all the counsellors, Willie Egan from Kilkenny College for providing them, and the therapists, who gave freely of their time and never charged. 

She also thanks the drivers, the volunteers who helped with fundraising events and all the businesses and people who donated prizes for raffles. Mary also thanks her committee who provided help and support over the years. 

She spoke of how the response by the people using the support group's services was just overwhelming and how delighted she and her team were to see such enthusiasm in the uptake of their services. 

Cancer Care & Share provided 24hr contact 7 days a week and aimed to give people as much time as possible. Mary witnessed many regain hope and a new lease of life. 

Another project within the group of extended volunteers including the Day Care residents, was the crocheting of blankets for Crumlin Hospital and for local cancer patients to use   on their travels for treatment. Mary also paid tribute to Annette Gregg from Wexford who sourced sponsors for ‘Chemo Kits’ a little bag containing socks, sweets, lip salve, deodorant and wipes that were given to people travelling and undergoing treatment. 

As Mary continues with her own commitments and reflects on life she says: “I had cancer but cancer never had me. Energy kept me going and caring for your own health is vital. I wish all the best to everyone on their path to recovery and to their families.” 

Mary has organised for the people  using the services of Cancer Care & Share to transfer to the services of Cancer Care in Clonmel and Solás in Waterford.  Her big regret was not being able to find a permanent base for Cancer Care & Share. 

Cancer Care & Share Group's closing balance of money fundraised by the people of Carrick-on-Suir is €2826.83. This money will go to the  palliative care section of St. Brigid’s District Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir to help cancer sufferers in their care.