Thanks to a grant of over £51,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, (MCF), to the Maggie’s charity, 100s of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will be given practical and emotional help and support. A cancer diagnosis can cause huge emotional and physical challenges that men find difficult to share with even their closest friends and family. With no-one to turn to this can lead to feelings of isolation.
When Ruth Tobi, Fund Raiser at Maggie’s invited the Provincial Grand Masters of East Lancashire and West Lancashire and the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire into the wonderfully relaxing environment of Maggie’s at Christie Hospital in Manchester. The existence of the charity is wholly due to the original work put in by the founder Maggie Jencks in Edinburgh when she was diagnosed with cancer, but could find no support outside of the clinical care provided by the NHS. First priority was a beautiful garden space to quietly reflect in with family and friends, second was the kitchen table where all can gather for a chat.
One patient said: “Maggie’s is like an oasis. It gives you the tools to take your future forward, to take control of your life.” and that is why Tony Harrison ProvGM of West Lancashire, Sir David Trippier ProvGM of East Lancashire and Simon Palfreyman AProvGM Province of Cheshire gathered at Maggie’s Manchester, to present the MCF donation.
As a result, Maggie’s has designed the ‘Living with and beyond prostate cancer’ workshops. These tailored courses provide information and practical help on issues such as post-treatment challenges, managing fatigue, relaxation techniques, weight control, nutrition, regaining physical fitness, dealing with urinary problems, sexual dysfunction and relationship issues.
The programme aims to give people relevant information and advice in a safe supportive environment to help reduce the distress and anxiety associated with cancer treatment, give back some control, and reduce feelings of loneliness. In addition to Maggie’s, Manchester, the programme is also being run at Bart’s (City of London), West London Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford, Swansea and the Wirral.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men over 65 in the UK and as the ageing population grows, is expected to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer overall by 2030. Survival rates have increased over the past 10 years, coupled with an increase in diagnoses which means more men are living with prostate cancer for longer. As a disease more prevalent in older men, diagnosis often comes when they are undergoing other big life changes, often upsetting plans for the future. Tony Collier, a four-year survivor of terminal prostate cancer said: “‘The PSA testing carried out at Masonic functions is the best way to begin a diagnosis and it is early diagnosis that saves lives”. Tony is well on the road to recovery and is hoping in the coming months to complete a 64-mile marathon to raise much needed funds for Maggie’s.
The grant from East Lancashire, West Lancashire and Cheshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Dr. Robin Muir, Centre Head of Maggie’s said: “We’re very grateful to East Lancashire, West Lancashire and Cheshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us provide much needed emotional and practical support to older men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Men generally, and older men in particular, are usually less emotionally expressive then women and tend to need more support as a result. Our professionally led groups are specially designed to provide the care these men need.”
Tony Harrison from West Lancashire said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Maggie’s with their hugely important programme of practical support for men with prostate cancer. As well as helping to tackle this very serious condition, we’ve also made it a priority to help older people who are lonely and isolated. Maggie’s excellent project covers both of these key priorities.”
By Ian K Dawson, Wigan Group Publicity Officer.