Hurstpierpoint resident Paul Huggett made a decision to do something positive after his world collapsed around him not once but twice.
Paul’s first wife Pam was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 and died in 1994 leaving him to bring up their two daughters aged just seven and four. He was in great need of help and support to cope with the situation he now faced but was unable to find anything that really suited him at the time.
Paul married again in 1999 and was devastated when Bridget developed breast cancer a year later. He and the family battled through the tough times all over again but in 2007 she sadly passed away.
It was at this point that Paul made a throwaway comment to Bridget’s former consultant after he asked what he was going to do now. “I’m going to start something to help support those of us caring for and supporting our loved ones and those left behind.” The response he got from the consultant was overwhelmingly positive, as he recognised the great need. It wasn’t long after that Paul gathered together eight individuals at his home to formulate a plan which would become Cancervive.
Cancervive is run from an office in Paul’s home on Western Road and it simply offers help, from personal experience, for family, friends and colleagues of cancer patients. The registered charity has five trustees and seven volunteers.
Paul continued: “We basically say ‘you don’t have to go through it alone’. Many of us, as carers of our loved ones, can’t admit that we also need support and someone to talk to. When I first found someone to talk to, I just wanted to let it all out. After I did, it actually helped me move on.”
Cancervive has a telephone helpline, runs support groups, an online forum and can also provide home visits and one-to-one support. Later this month the Charity will be partnered by The Olive Tree Cancer Support, Jigsaw 4 U and St Catherine’s Hospice to provide a drop-in centre specifically for the use of teenagers. The centre will be based in Crawley Hospital. Paul’s daughter Rebecca, and co-founder of Cancervive, quoted: “Talking to like-minded teenagers who understand without judgement and sharing their own personal experiences.”
The new Teenage Support Group will be starting on 14th May.
For more information about Cancervive and our services, please visit www.cancervive.org.uk. Or contact us on 01273 834912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story also available on page 21.