How Macmillan Cancer Support is helping those living with cancer

THE McNally family’s story sheds a light on how Macmillan and the Macmillan Palliative Care Unit at Antrim Area Hospital can help those living with cancer in Mid-Ulster.

Cookstown and Magherafelt Macmillan Cancer Support committee was formed in 1997 with the sole purpose of funding the first Macmillan nurse, Margaret Carlin in the Mid-Ulster Hospital.

Five years ago the group’s focus was on the £5 million Macmillan unit at Antrim Area hospital. Macmillan in Northern Ireland had to fund £2.2 million towards this. Thanks to the generosity of the people in the Mid-Ulster area the local committee were able to forward £310,000 to this project. In 2010 RT Autos donated £65,000 and the remaining £246,000 was an accumulation of smaller events organises by local people.

The Macmillan Unit officially opened on March 8th, 2012. It is a purpose built specialist palliative care in-patient unit located in the grounds of Antrim Area Hospital. The Unit specialises in helping adults with life-limiting illnesses, such as advanced cancer, advanced respiratory disease, motor neurone disease, renal failure or heart failure.

Patients can be admitted for short periods of time to provide relief from pain and other symptoms, respite care and for care at the end of life. It has 12 single en-suite rooms and also has facilities to accommodate out-patient appointments. Each bedroom has a pull-down bed to facilitate relatives who wish to stay, and there is also a relative’s room with bed settee and shower facilities. There is also a private terrace area for patients to sit out, a drinks cooler, a TV, a radio and CD player, and Wi-Fi internet access. Patients and families also have access to a day room that is used to socialise and a quiet room for time to reflect.

Macmillan’s focus is to help fund this high quality unit for three years before it can be taken over by the Northern Trust. The projected figure for this is £850,000.

Cookstown and Magherafelt Macmillan Support committee will be hosting a number of fundraising events over the next month.

On Saturday, September 22nd the group’s ‘Biggest Coffee Party’ will take place at Lissan House from 10am to 3pm.

The Trustees kindly granted the group permission to hold their coffee party in the ballroom of this wonderfully restored ancestral home of the Staples family. House tours will be available for those who have not yet taken the opportunity to explore this historic building and car parking will be free. Admission is by donations and there will also be a cake stall.

For enquiries contact Neil on 028 867 63312.

On Sunday, October 14th Carnwheelers are holding their annual Tour of the South cycle leaving at 10.30am.

Registration from 9am at Magherafelt GAA club or online at New cyclists very welcome. The club has been very loyal to Macmillan Cancer Support raising almost £20,000 in the last four years. For more information on this event contact Michael Donnelly on 07793362914.

Finally Belfast Community Gospel Choir will visit Magherafelt Parish Centre to perform on Saturday, October 20th at 8pm with all proceeds going to Macmillan.

The Gospel Choir comprises of over 70 vocalists from all parts of the province, and is completely and cross community. Tickets are £10 and are limited to 400. This evening is being sponsored by the McNally family from Magherafelt.

If you would like to become a volunteer, helper, or a fundraiser with Macmillan in Mid-Ulster contact Joyce on 07889262205, Maureen on 07710618188, Iris on 07710618188 or Mary on 07599256494.

All Money collected in Mid-Ulster is used to help the people of Mid-Ulster.