Graham Norton opens West Cork cancer unit

Bernard Uniacke , Ellen Joyce, Graham Norton, Patricia Lyne, Dr Séamus O Reilly , Hillary Sullivan  & Joe Keane. Pictures: Adrian Cronin

From the shock of a cancer diagnosis to coping with the side-effects of treatment — a new service in West Cork is designed to provide emotional and practical support to anyone struggling with the illness.

At hand yesterday to officially open the Cork ARC Cancer Support House new outreach facility was West Cork’s king of the chat show, Graham Norton.

Also present was the dedicated and tireless consultant oncologist Dr Séamus O’Reilly, who has overseen the treatment of thousands of cancer patients in Cork hospitals.

Ellen Joyce, director of services at Cork Arc, said they had been looking at expanding their service for a number of years and were delighted to now do so.

“This is a huge milestone for Cork Arc and a good day for West Cork and there is great thanks due to the local people for all the support they’ve given us,” Ms Joyce said. The service, which operates out of The Bungalow, Gories, Bantry (near Bantry Golf Course), commenced last April with the assistance of Bantry Hospice, but was officially launched yesterday.

Since April, 54 patients and their relatives have made contact with the service and there have been more than 200 visits to the centre.

Ms Joyce said they were “very happy” with the throughput so far.

Patricia Lyne, West Cork co-ordinator, has been volunteering at Cork ARC since 2012.

A native of Beara, she will oversee the new service which will help cut out long journeys to the city for those seeking cancer support services. The Bantry centre will serve the needs of the local community and beyond, including Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Skibbereen, Sheep’s Head, Mizen and Beara Peninsulas and their islands, onto Kenmare, South Kerry.

For years, Cancer Connect have been bringing the people of West Cork to Cork ARC in the city and will continue to do so for Cork ARC in Bantry.

Visitors to Bantry can expect to receive a warm welcome from one of the trained volunteers in a tranquil, safe, and home-like atmosphere. All services are provided free of charge.

The support centre is open on Tuesdays from 10am to 4pm when anyone affected by cancer can telephone or drop in, without an appointment, and talk in confidence with a trained volunteer listener.Therapeutic massage, reflexology, counselling are all available by appointment and there is a drop-in guided ‘Hour of Calm’ on Tuesdays between 11:30am and 12:30pm.

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