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Mayo Cancer Support launches Achill outreach service

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SUPPORTMayo Cancer Support board of directors and staff at the recent launch of their new outreach service in Achill, from left: Eugene Connolly (Treasurer), Seamus Moran (Chairman), Jean Foy (Therapist), Martin Mylotte (Secretary) and Trisha Greavy (General Manager), John Tiernan (Vice-Chairperson).

Anton McNulty

Cancer patients and their families have been urged to avail of a new cancer outreach service which has been established in Achill and will open next month.
Mayo Cancer Support Association launched an outreach service in Achill which will be their third outreach service in the county alongside their main centre in Rock Rose House in Castlebar and another centre in Ballina.
A large crowd attended the official launch of the Achill outreach service in Óstán Oileán Acla last week which will be located in the Achill Sound Health Centre. The service is scheduled to begin on February 21.
Mayo Cancer Support was founded in 1999 and offers local, community-based cancer support services to people affected by cancer, their families and friends, all of which are completely confidential and provided free of charge. The services they provide include professional counselling, a drop-in service where people can call in for a chat, complementary therapies and groups therapies along with a climb programme for children.
Speaking at the launch, Tricia Greavy, General Manager of Mayo Cancer Support, said the distance from Achill to Castlebar was a factor in locating an outreach service on the island.
“If you are travelling regularly to Galway or Castlebar from Achill for treatment you do not want to be travelling more and we recognised that. That is why we looked to provide a service here in Achill. It is something that has been in the pipeline for a while and we are delighted to be able to start providing the service here in Achill on February 21,” she said.  
Ms Greavy thanked the HSE for providing the room in the health centre for the services and also for donating a start-up grant for the service.
Padraic Carolan of the HSE said that he was delighted to support the outreach service in Achill as there were not many families who were not affected by cancer. He urged people to avail of the service.
“The key unfortunately is that the service has to be used and there is no point in Jean [Jean Foy Complimentary Therapist] being here on her own and nobody coming in. It is important to spread the word. It is awful spreading the word about cancer but at the same time you are spreading the word about support that is available for cancer sufferers and their families. I hope it is a success and embraced by the people,” he said.
Other speakers included Seamus Moran, Chairman of Mayo Cancer Support who said the need for their service continues to grow and they were delighted to expand the service into Achill. He said that 90 percent of the €200,000 they raise each year to provide their services come from community fundraisers and he thanked everyone who has supported them through the years.
Cancer survivor John Tiernan told the launch that the service given by Rock Rose House helped him deal with his illness especially in the aftermath of his treatment.
“Once you have your last treatment over, people think you are sound now and I would have thought the same before my diagnosis. It is after you have finished your treatment...you find yourself alone and the negative thoughts start to get at you. That is when you need the support. Rock Rose House has got so many people out of a rut and shines a light for people to look forward,” he said.
The launch concluded with a reading of poetry by Michael O’Donnell, who wrote a poem called ‘All That I Need’ especially for the evening’s launch. Michael’s daughter Catherine died as a result of cancer in 2017 and he wrote a book of poetry called ‘Taking Stock’ with all the proceeds going to the cancer charity Cancer Clinical Research Trust.

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If you would like to avail of the cancer outreach service in Achill you can contact Mayo Cancer Support on 094 9038407 or email mayocancersupport@eircom.net.