Christmas spirit is a feeling Macmillan keeps throughout the year

Christmas is just around the corner and many of my friends and colleagues have made start on their Christmas gift list, writes Stacey Smalley, fundraising manager for Macmillan in Nottinghamshire.

Working for Macmillan feels like having a year-long Christmas shopping list with so many people telling us what matters most to them when they have been diagnosed with cancer and what services and support they would like to see locally.

Stacey Smalley, fundraising manager for Macmillan in Nottinghamshire

Stacey Smalley, fundraising manager for Macmillan in Nottinghamshire

So, in true Christmas Spirit we have invested in the extension of a very important service to cover Mansfield and Ashfield.

A successful volunteer scheme, which has already transformed life for more than 730 people living with cancer in the area, has been rolled out across Nottinghamshire.

Led by cancer survivor Kerry Brealey in partnership with Self Help UK, the Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Project provides practical and emotional support in the home to local people living with cancer.

Thanks to additional funding from Macmillan, Kerry, along with two new volunteer co-ordinators and around 200 trained volunteers, will now be able to provide support to every single person living with cancer in Nottinghamshire who needs it.

Kerry, 40, from Mansfield, was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was just 25 and told she could never have children.

The cancer was treated successfully, but she battled depression and anxiety for several years afterwards.

She said: “I feel really passionate about people getting the right support at the right time.

“It can be really difficult to talk to family members about how you’re feeling as you don’t want to burden them when they’re already doing so much.

“Our volunteers are there to offer a bit of extra help and support both to the person diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones.”

Now, several years later, Kerry is working alongside many of the consultants and health professionals who cared for her when she had cancer.

She also defied doctors’ expectations and gave birth to a happy healthy son.

When we pick up the phone to talk to companies and ask whether they would support Macmillan…one of the first things we explain is how we work in the local community.

Macmillan is a national charity and has national services like a helpline, website and information.

But its heart is very much local.

With that in mind, I also want to use this column to thank one of Macmillan’s local supporters, the Mansfield Building Society, which has been supporting Macmillan since 2016.

When the Mansfield chose to support Macmillan, it was very clear it wanted to make a difference locally and the money it has since raised has helped see services like the Macmillan Volunteer Scheme now extended to cover Mansfield and Ashfield.

The total amount raised in two years by The Mansfield will be revealed in December.

If you’re reading this and thinking you’d like to get involved and support Macmillan, then please contact me on 07809 554963 or email ssmalley@macmillan.org.uk