COLUMN: Can you help fund projects like Derbyshire cancer survivor’s unique centre?

Sarah Stephens has set up a unique activity centre which offers emotional support for people affected by cancer.
Sarah Stephens has set up a unique activity centre which offers emotional support for people affected by cancer.

In my column this week I wanted to talk about a new service we are launching in Derbyshire to support the emotional wellbeing of people affected by cancer.

Anyone who has been

diagnosed with cancer or knows someone who has been affected, understands that it can be an emotional rollercoaster, not just for the person with the disease but for family and friends

too. And it doesn’t just stop when treatment ends.

That’s why we’re always investing in services that support people after as well as during treatment. Services like the Spirit and Soul Equine Assisted Activity Centre, based in Kirk Langley, which uses horses to help improve the emotional wellbeing of people affected by cancer.

This unique service, which launched last week, has been set up by 29-year-old Derbyshire cancer survivor Sarah Stephens, and is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. It helps to build confidence through time spent with the horses, learning basic horsemanship and grooming skills. Horses are prey animals by nature so pick up on our emotions easily, helping us to understand how we’re feeling.

Sarah was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 27. She had a double mastectomy and all of her ovaries removed. While going through treatment, she found comfort in her two horses, finding that they had a calming and constant influence on her. It was there and then that she started planning the centre to help others going through a similar experience. She bought two more horses and approached Macmillan for funding.

It’s only thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can fund services like this. People like the Dronfield Townswomen’s Guild who have just presented Macmillan with a cheque for £1050. Over the last year they have had ‘party bag’ stalls at events such as the Dronfield Gala and the Dronfield Christmas Fest. They also held a summer garden party at the home of committee chairman, Louise Marshall, and hosted a fashion show by London Connections of Rotherham. Money was also raised from the sale of raffle tickets and cards.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who joined us at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show on June 5 , where Macmillan unveiled its ‘Legacy Garden’ designed by Michael Coley.

Almost a third of all our funding comes from gifts left in the wills of supporters and this garden is a celebratory reminder of the difference leaving a legacy can make to people living

with cancer. So thank you to everyone who turned out for showing your support.

If you’d like to get involved and help us raise money so we can fund more services like Sarah’s, call me on 07458 087092 or email: hlumb@macmillan.org.uk