Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Get A-Head boost for Birmingham cancer support group

A support group for people who have lost their ability to speak because of cancer has received a boost from specialist health charity Get A-Head.

The support group, for people who have had laryngectomy surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, has received a £1,500 grant from the charity.

Tom Bromwich, chairman of the Get A-Head charitable trust, said:

“Laryngectomy is a necessary but devastating treatment that can leave patients feeling very vulnerable and isolated, so any opportunity for them to meet others in the same situation while also accessing help and support from specialist professionals is to be welcomed.

“I am delighted that we have been able to offer a grant towards the cost of hosting the support group and I hope it makes a positive difference to the lives of the patients.”

The grant money was used to hire a room at the Midlands Art Centre on April 19 and to provide refreshments for patients and their family members who attended.

As well as the chance to meet other patients, those attending were able to talk to their cancer nurse specialists about any concerns they might have and also get information and advice from a dietician and complementary therapist.

Lucy Grainger, a clinical nurse specialist in the altered airway team who helped organise the event, said:

“Laryngectomy patients have their voice box removed due to cancer and often state they feel disconnected from society due to a change in communication, eating habits and body image.

“Patients are well supported after this surgery but sometimes it can help to have a little extra support, without the need to make a formal appointment with their medical team.

“The support group was an opportunity for patients to chat about any questions and concerns they might have informally over a cup of tea so that we could either reassure them straight away or refer them to more specialist help.

“It was also a chance for them to meet up with other patients away from a clinical hospital setting. When you’re feeling isolated, it’s vital to know you’re not alone.

“The group met recently for the first time, and it was a great benefit to some of our patients’ and their mental health, helping to ease their feelings of isolation. One gentleman said he had learned a lot from the event but also told us that he no longer felt alone. That sums it up I think.”

Get A-Head is a Midlands-founded charity which aims to improve the lives of people with head and neck injuries or diseases, particularly cancer. It supports research, funds education and training for healthcare professionals and provides equipment and complementary therapies to help patients live better with their condition and its effects.

For more information about the Get A-Head charitable trust, please visit: www.getahead.org.uk/.

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