SCARS ( Stalbridge Cancer and Recovery Support) are proud to have partnered with a wonderful organisation called "Something to look forward to". The premise is simple, 'Something to look forward to' receive generous donations from businesses. organisations and individuals and then pass them on to people affected by cancer. Find anything from tickets to events and attractions, restaurant meals, hotel stays, beauty treatments, holiday cottages, clothing, toiletries and makeup, food hampers, the list is endless.
Something to look forward to is a charity website supporting people with cancer, their families and carers, to access a variety of ‘gifts’ and ‘experiences’ generously donated by people and companies. Andy and Fiona Coldron started the charity in 2015. Despite the pandemic the charity has now established a nationwide service for distributing their gifts and experiences and invites applications to benefit from these on their website.
Visit the website to discover all the current gifts and experiences available and find out why and how this organisation was set up.
On Wednesday 25th May SCARS founder Tracy White delivered the commitee's Annual Report at The Annual Stalbridge Town Meeting.
"What great news it is to finally be able to come together as a community once again to get an update on the wonderful work undertaken by the groups in Stalbridge after such a long time apart during the pandemic. "
SCARS managed to meet on the last Monday of both January and February 2020 in our new location at The Annexe, Stalbridge Village Hall and it was wonderful to welcome our members back after the Christmas break with new members joining us. Little did we know that life was going to change so dramatically in March 2020 but once the lockdown was confirmed our March meeting had to be cancelled and at that time the Committee did not really have any idea on how we would continue going forward not only with the vital support of our current members and of course people who may need support after a diagnosis during these unprecedented times.
Thankfully, a wonderful member who had been with SCARS from our formation in 2014 set up Zoom on his computer which allowed us to all meet on our usual meeting date as an evening meeting of only 45 minutes as this meant we did not need to use funds as this could was free of charge. The meetings went well albeit strange at the beginning however it was vital to keep the link with each other as many of us are vulnerable (myself included) and as such were shielded and had to stay in our homes for months on end and this was the only contact with the outside world. Not all our members joined us on Zoom as some did not have the facilities to do so as well as some who found it too uncomfortable which is of course understandable.
SCARS decided to hold the first face to face meeting in September 2021 but sadly it was not well supported as we had lost some of our members very sadly during the pandemic to their cancer and of course we could not go and say a final farewell to them and pay our respects due to the pandemic, also members still felt a degree of fear and reluctance to be around other people due to their vulnerability. The Committee therefore had to make the decision to leave meeting again face to face until January 2022, but we continued with the Zoom meetings up to December 2021 which was wonderful for us all.
Since the first meeting in January this year SCARS has been growing slowly with new faces joining us for the vital peer support that is so necessary for those who have been left to struggle alone after getting a diagnosis and having to go through treatment alone throughout the pandemic.
The need to talk to others who have a clear understanding of the fear and emotions of a cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as the support of likeminded people can make such a difference to the mental health of anyone at what is one of the worst times of your life, as well as the isolation and loneliness.
Another tremendous success for SCARS since the start of 2022 is the wonderful growth of our vital work with a new SCARS group being set up and now running in Sherborne. The meeting is on the third Monday of every month (except bank holidays) in the Communal Room, Manor Court, Sherborne, DT9 3JH between 2-4pm.
Having met Roger Marsh of the Chairperson of the Patient Participation Group of The Grove Surgery in Sherborne at a Networking event through Dorset Community Action in 2019 a discussion took place with Tracy White about the potential of a cancer support group with the surgeries in Sherborne as it was apparent this needed. Further discussions took place until the pandemic took over in 2020 putting the matter to one side until we could resume discussions face to face.
Tracy White received contact again in early January 2022 to further discuss this matter further with a meeting arranged with Tracy White, June Harman and Lyn Robinson in early February in Sherborne. Agreement came for SCARS to hold the drop in with the group having recognition around the local area. It was at this point that the SCARS Committee made the decision hold a ‘drop in’ rather than a ‘meeting’ and this has proved to be a success in both Stalbridge and Sherborne. The second drop in at Sherborne sadly fell during Easter therefore not well supported but we have just had our third meeting on Monday 16th May and we welcomed fresh faces as well those who had visited before, and much laughter was had by all as well as a lovely cuppa and biscuits with new friendships being made.
As had been the case for all groups over the pandemic vital funds have diminished with no events, this has had an enormous impact on everyone. SCARS have now decided three events in 2022, one of which will be an Afternoon Tea in July. Full details of this event will be available at the right time along with details of our other events, it will be wonderful to get to see people again and to raise vitally needed funds to support cancer sufferers and/or their families with travel expenses, days out etc.
Although no real expenditure during 2020/2021 our accounts are fully up to date for 2019 onwards and audited and available for viewing should anyone wish to view, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A grant was made by Macmillan in February 2022 for SCARS to have a new website built and this was undertaken by John Fieldhouse of Fieldhouse Design & Print along with fresh marketing material and we are extremely grateful for his work and the wonderful website and printing materials he supplied. John is also hosting our site and will continue to do so as we feel it is important to provide business locally.
The new website address for SCARS is https://www.scarscancerandrecoverysupport.co.uk and new A4 & A3 laminated posters are available should you wish to display one (also supplied for the annual meeting).
SCARS (Stalbridge Cancer & Recovery Support)
"I have thought very carefully about whether to commit my thoughts to words on a very public forum knowing the danger of negativity towards me, please allow me the time without judgement to share my feelings as this does not just apply to me but to so many silent voices you will never hear..."
- Tracy White
My concern however is that the NHS is not sufficiently funded to support the lives they save from cancer. They try so very hard but particularly now with a pandemic it’s harder than ever. It’s all about money as is always the case and cancer is still changing lives everyday despite the pandemic but the NHS is not even able to save all the lives from cancer as the hospitals do not have the space or staff for both. Nobody should ever have to choose between life or death we are all people who deserve to live and be well without hesitation.
So I now hear that the first centre to support those with long covid has been set up and I celebrate the support for those affected as they too want the ‘you’ they were back and to not have to struggle. Yes the Country needs these people to be well and to support the Country in the future with taxes so I am not being negative towards those affected but my question is what about the long term effects of cancer? The NHS and the Government have known for years the long term effects of cancer on our bodies and minds but there has never been funding found to support those affected. It’s been almost 10 years since I faced my battle and I face my mental and physical scars every single day and I know through my cancer support of so many who walk the same road. The emotional damage is not with you every day as you can put it to the back of your mind but it’s never gone. Anxiety is dangerous as it affects every part of you and is recognised as a mental health condition and yet support is hard to access as funding has never been adequate over years and years.
So ultimately I am asking everyone to read this and understand that yes the pandemic is very serious and every single death is beyond heart breaking. Yes long covid is a fact and yes those affected need support without question. It’s being mentioned constantly in the media so everyone is becoming aware of it and feels such heartbreak for those living with it myself included. However just because you don’t hear it every day please don’t forget those who have fought and survived cancer, we too are suffering long term affects it’s real and it’s a fact. We are struggling every day and some are even classed as terminal due to secondary cancer from those rogue cells but they can live with help from medication. They fight every single day silently struggling with the emotional effects of the long term battle. You don’t know who they are, they don’t wear a badge or even look ill but they are there and they are real!
SCARS is a self-funding, peer support Group who generate income through fundraising events throughout the year as well as being very fortunate to get some financial donations from other sources. All income generated by fundraising or donated to SCARS are fully accounted for by our Treasurer and a yearly audit is undertaken at the end of our financial year on the 31st August. Whilst SCARS are not a Charity we hold a yearly AGM in September to discuss the past year and how we feel we can improve on the services we offer and this is an excellent opportunity for all visitors to discuss matters they feel are important to them. The funds as well as being used to run SCARS including Public Liability Insurance, Marketing etc can also allow for a small financial grant should anyone have a need to help cover travel for treatment or to aid them to attend for holistic/mindfulness treatments whilst undergoing their main cancer treatment which can be a huge benefit when treatment feels never ending.
Of course 2021 has been a very difficult year for everyone and SCARS is no exception but we feel immensely fortunate to have received a couple of donations from local supermarkets which has made life just a little easier and allowed SCARS to support members with a Zoom meeting each month. Now that life is returning slowly to some semblance of normality SCARS are returning to our face to face monthly drop ins at The Annex, Stalbridge Village Hall, Lower Road, Stalbridge with our first get together, which took place on Monday 28th February between 2-4pm. If you feel you could benefit from support amongst likeminded friends then do come along and see what we are about, don’t be shy as we are all very friendly and most importantly appreciate life and like to have fun as well!
Moving forward SCARS are back with a renewed energy, brand new website, new ideas and plans and you could be someone who could help us bring back some positivity and joy after such difficult and trying times. If you feel you have something to offer and would like to become part of the SCARS Committee/Volunteers then we would love to welcome you along. We always have a need for volunteers to help run our local fundraising events and if you have an interest in websites and are computer savvy then we are looking for a volunteer who could take on the role (with training) of the day to day updating/maintenance of our website. Could you be that person we are looking for, if so please do not hesitate to contact us for a chat.
All roles are purely voluntary and SCARS would fully appreciate any amount of time you feel you could offer.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning SCARS on 07961 027089.
No-one should fight cancer alone and at SCARS we can and will find the strength to face the future together.
SCARS (Stalbridge Cancer & Recovery Support)