New service set to help ease isolation for people with cancer in Mansfield

The plight of people with cancer facing isolation due to coronavirus is being tackled in the Mansfield area.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:08 am

Macmillan Cancer Support and Self Help UK are launching a new support service, the ‘Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Gateway’ initiative after it benefited from £550,000 Macmillan funds.

Great-grandad Dennis Wyer, 81, from Kirkby-in Ashfield has incurable, inoperable lung cancer. He can no longer have chemotherapy and he has a heart condition.

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Dennis Wyer and Bridget Litchfield

Dennis has been shielding with his partner of 16 years Pearl Sheldon.

“At times in the lockdown , when you are ill, you can feel quite forgotten,” he said. “I keep in touch with my daughters, on the phone but they live a distance away. I became a great-grandad but haven’t been able to see her yet.

"I lost my eldest sister Dulcie Stow, 86, and my youngest brother Keith Wyer, 75, during the lockdowns, I’m the last man standing, Pearl says I am the best man standing!

“I have not been able to go anywhere apart from taking Honey, my little dog for a walk behind my house. I couldn’t go to my garden club, I used to go to the hospice, you’d have a meal, cups of tea, socialise, do puzzles and crafts. But it’s all changed. The hospice staff there are marvellous.”

Dennis, a former steel worker, was paired with a volunteer who rings once a week.

“We talk about football, cricket and how I’m getting on. It takes my mind of things, lifts my mood. I think it is a marvellous idea.”

Bridget Litchfield from Mansfield volunteered after her own breast cancer diagnosis.

“I had lots of support from family and friends but a lot of people don’t have that,” she said.

Cath Cameron-Jones from Self Help UK is the Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Gateway Manager running the Nottinghamshire service.

“Whether someone is recovering from cancer treatment, caring for someone with cancer or bereaved, it is often the little things that make a big difference and help people to feel ‘normal’ again,” she said.

“The pandemic has exacerbated some of the practical and emotional issues, people are increasingly isolated, things like picking up groceries or going for a hospital appointment if people are shielding or don’t have support networks. That’s where our volunteers come in.” See: