Coping with Cancer

Coping with Cancer North East was set up in 1982 by a group of people whose lives had been touched by Cancer.  Led by Irene Smith (who passed away 20 March 1985) they set up a volunteering group to share their experiences with others through emotional and social support, with practical support and information. Coping with Cancer has always sought to work closely with all the statutory services and seeks to complement their work.

Judith Woodruff joined the charity in 1994 as a volunteer coordinator after leaving Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge where she was involved in medical training and research in psychiatry and neuroscience.  She became the Chief Executive and manged the organisation through many changes and growth over twenty years until she died suddenly on holiday at the end of 2018. During her time with Coping with Cancer North East, they were involved with many services at hospitals and health centres throughout the North East.

These have included the following achievements during the past 20 years –

  • Drop in and support groups for breast cancer patients
  • Reiki, Reflexology, M Technique and a range of specialist types of massage
  • Home and telephone support listening for all cancer patients
  • Befriending groups with volunteer peers through a ‘buddy’ system
  • Training of volunteers in Level 2 NVQ in Complementary Therapy for Cancer Patients
  • Set up patient information and support centres
  • Weekly coffee groups
  • Introduction of auricular acupuncture in hospitals in the north east
  • Bereavement counselling
  • Clinics for prostate cancer patients
  • Finalists in the NHS Quality in Oncology Awards in 2012
  • The introduction of psychotherapy counselling for patients needing more emotional and mental health support
  • A range of gentle therapies for ICCU departments in Sunderland Royal Hospital
  • Representing patient and carer views at regional health networks
  • A weekly presence in most oncology day units throughout the North East
  • Introduction of auricular acupuncture Level 3 training courses for staff and volunteers
  • Introduction of beauty and make up sessions for teenage cancer units
  • Sharing counselling services to staff within cancer services in hospitals

Maggie Bailey was recruited and took up the position of Chief Executive in 2019.  There are many changes planned for this year, including the launch of a new website with a refreshed and updated logo; new premises ‘ The Woodruff Centre’ ; new improved and developed range of services available; and new electronic data systems to gather evidence of the difference the charity still makes with each and every individual client.

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