New Macmillan service to help people living with cancer in Gainsborough combat isolation

Terry and Tony Ellis
Terry and Tony Ellis

A new Macmillan service to provide people living with cancer in Gainsborough with practical and emotional support at home has been launched.

The Gainsborough Not Alone Service aims to combat isolation and support people who may not have family and friends close by to help.

Trained volunteers will be able to help with light household tasks such as laundry or washing up and provide companionship by accompanying patients to appointments or just being there to listen.

Terry Ellis, 27, from Gainsborough, is one of the first people to sign up as a volunteer.

He decided he wanted to give something back after losing his dad to bowel cancer in December last year.

He said: “Volunteering is something I’ve wanted to do ever since my dad died.

“My dad was my best mate. It’s always been him and me, we did everything together.

“When he was diagnosed with bowel cancer we didn’t ask for any help, because there’s people out there who I know haven’t got anybody, they’re on their own.

“My dad, he had me, so I didn’t want to take up valuable resources and cared for him myself.”

Terry’s dad Tony, 74, was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer which had spread to his liver in January 2016.

Due to his ill health, the tumour couldn’t be removed and he was given 3 to 6 months to live.

However he went onto live another two years under son Terry’s care.

Over the next two years Terry cared for his father while holding down a full time job.

Terry said: “I did everything for him. I changed his colostomy bag, bathed him, he lost a lot of weight and could hardly walk, so I did physio exercises with him in the garden and got him walking again.

“I took him different places, like Scarborough and Derbyshire so he’d feel as though he’d been on holiday.”

The experience made Terry determined to help other people in a similar situation.

Terry said: “My dad had me, but not everyone has family or friends close by, there are a lot of isolated people out there.

“It’s just 1 night a week, but if I can help just one person, it will mean a lot.”

In Lincolnshire more than 4,724 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and 28,000 people are living with and beyond cancer in the county.

With more people surviving and living long with cancer, this number is expected to double by 2030.

Macmillan is appealing for more volunteers to join the service.

Louise Irving, Macmillan Volunteer Co-ordinator in Lincolnshire, has set up the service.

She said: “We know people affected by cancer in Lincolnshire may live in isolation, or perhaps have limited support from family or friends.

“The Macmillan Direct Volunteering Service has been working successfully to support people across the county.

“We know that Gainsborough and the surrounding villages will benefit hugely from this service, but we need your support with volunteering and fundraising.

“All our volunteers are fully trained and you can give as much or as little of your time as you like from a minimum of 1 hour per week.”

If you would like to become a volunteer for the Gainsborough Not Alone Service contact Louise Irving on 07473583930 or email lirving@macmillan.org.uk.

You can also support the service and help us to fund more cancer services like this in Lincolnshire by fundraising.

Just £400 could pay for a volunteer to support someone in their home for four weeks.

If you would like to know more about fundraising contact Jamie Davenport, local fundraising manager for Lincolnshire, on 07595 091 384 or email jdavenport@macmillan.org.uk.