“I never thought of myself as a carer, I am a husband who just wanted to look after his wife.” The heartfelt words of David Mace, who like many people, provides emotional and physical support to a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Now specialist nurses at East Surrey Hospital are holding an event which they hope will offer care to the carers.
As part of the upcoming national Carers Week, two of the hospital’s nurses are organising an event on June 10 which will provide information and support to carers as well as a chance to meet and talk to people in a similar position.
People from a number of organisations will be there including The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, Crossroads, East Surrey Carers Support Association and Carers Support West Sussex.
David described it as the worst day of his life when his wife Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Joan said: “If I had a bad day or didn’t feel well it was David who had to deal with everything and take it all on board. He has been there for me, 24 hours a day. Carers just care without thinking about it – they just get on with it.”
The couple from Hookwood are supporting the event which they hope will provide people with an opportunity to hear what others have been through and share their experiences.
The event is being organised by Chris Turner and Liz Darragh, breast care clinical nurses specialists at Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.
Chris said: “These people are unsung heroes. They don’t see themselves as a carer, they see it as simply looking after their loved ones and this event is about recognising the care and support they give. We can see the physical and emotional drain it has on people and we want to show them the help that is out there.”
“When someone becomes ill and needs to be looked after the whole family can feel the effect. There are lots of organisations coming who can provide help, some who focus on emotional and psychological support, others on the practical side – someone to do your shopping or walk the dog.”
Carers may be family, friends, parents or partners caring for someone with additional needs, an illness, frailty, disability or drug or alcohol problem.
Liz added: “Many carers are looking after someone affected by cancer but this event is open to all carers. We hope it will be really helpful to meet people who might be at different stages in their treatment and recovery and can share their experiences.”