I organise breakfast and plan for the day ahead.
I live in Sandymount and have the good fortune to have the shortest commute in Dublin to work. I simply stroll down the basement stairs to my GP practice.
Today, I am visiting the ARC centre on Eccles St, near the Mater Private. It’s a 40-minute walk across town and I make a point of going there to get to know our volunteers personally and to thank them for the wonderful work they do.
All services — psychological, educational and practical support, complementary therapies and counselling services — are provided by professional staff and trained volunteers and are free of charge.
The genesis of ARC was in the realisation that even when a doctor’s work in treating a person with cancer is done, there is a need to provide ongoing psycho-social support. ARC has a community-based approach, recognising that cancer impacts more than just the individual.
I have a meeting with Deirdre Grant, CEO of ARC Cancer Support Centres. We discuss fundraising, including an upcoming fashion show in March, and volunteer recruitment. We are constantly on the look-out for new volunteers, people who can help make our centres a home-from-home, because a lot of our clients are incredibly distressed when they come to us.
Last year, more than 16,000 people came into our drop-in centres at Eccles St and South Circular Road, many from the oncology departments at nearby hospitals. People can walk in, there is no form-filling, we are simply there to provide support to patients and their families. This year, ARC celebrates 25 years.
I head back across town to my own practice to see more patients in the afternoon.
I have lectures to prepare for my students at Lansdowne College of Acupuncture and Complementary Medicine where I am college director. I’ve a longstanding interest in complementary medicine, having studied acupuncture and traditional Chinese plant-based medicines. Some of my students go on to offer services such as reflexology and head massage free of charge at ARC. I encourage them to give something back.
- For more information on services and supports offered free of charge by ARC Cancer Support Centres, see: www.arccancersupport.ie