5 Minutes with Kevin

Friends of the Cancer Centre is dedicated to ensuring that local people affected by cancer are given the support and care that they need. For many people, cancer can have an impact beyond their physical health, and the on-site social work team in the Cancer Centre are on hand to help with the issues you might face.

We took 5 minutes with Kevin O’Grady, Social Work Team Manager in the Cancer Centre, to find out more about the vital support provided by his team.

What does your role involve? How do you support people affected by cancer?

“In my role as Social Work Team Manager, I am responsible for the whole team working in the Cancer Centre. My team provide holistic support for people affected by cancer, including helping them with increasing their independence and enhancing their quality of life both during and after treatment.

“We are meeting people during some really anxious and stressful times, so it is really important that we are on hand to provide this much needed support. We are there to offer both emotional and psychological support, and can refer or signpost to other services too. As a team, through follow up care, we can also help people to deal with the long-terms effects of cancer.”

How important is Friends of the Cancer Centre to your role?

“Friends of the Cancer Centre plays a huge role in support of the social work team. The charity provides funding for us through their patient grants programme, enabling us to provide financial support for people experiencing hardship as a result of their treatment.

“For many people, a cancer diagnosis can have a knock on effect on several areas in their life, and in order to receive the treatment they need, they may have to reduce their working hours or stop working altogether. As a result, they might be faced with a reduction in their income. This can cause additional anxiety alongside the increased costs during treatment of travel, heating and extra clothing. The support of Friends of the Cancer Centre reduces this worry for many patients as a result of receiving a grant from the charity. In the past year, we have provided 392 people across Northern Ireland with financial support, helping to alleviate much additional stress and anxiety.

“The charity also funds a post for our Social Worker for Teenagers and Young Adults, ensuring that young people affected by cancer are provided with tailored support. She ensures that the complex and specialist needs of the young people in her care, who are facing cancer at one of the most formative stages of their lives, are provided for. She can advocate for them with social, financial and psychological support. Her role helps to make what is a really difficult time that little bit easier for young patients and their families.

“As part of this funding, the charity also supports the B+ (Be Positive) group, providing social support for teenagers and young adults who are undergoing treatment for blood disorders. This is essential in offering vital social and emotional support to these young people.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the generous people who support the work of Friends of the Cancer Centre. Without you, the charity would be unable to support our work in the way that they do. Each day, through our team, your generosity is translated into viable support for people affected by cancer, thank you.”

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