Hello there ! My name is Diane and I attend the group meetings of TCSGW.
I have been gardening for over 50 years and I became involved with the thyroid group through a chance friendly conversation. I was standing in my garden one day and Dave Woolven - a founder member of the group - walked up to me and told me about the group. He also mentioned that they were thinking of developing a garden for patients in the isolation rooms to look out on and enjoy. The area involved was waste land and it would be a challenge but it was one that I was interested straight away!
Dave asked me to come along and offer some advice and support - 7 years on I’m still very much involved and enjoying it very much indeed. I started to think of things from a patient’s perspective - I am an ex nurse so my knowledge in both areas served me well.
A garden offers tranquility and I know how important it is to have something growing in the garden at every season of the year. One of the isolation rooms has a garden which is quite steep - another thing which we had to consider! I came along to meetings and enjoyed meeting the group members. We work hard to try and improve the quality of life for our patients whilst they are in isolation having their treatments.
A great team ethos has developed - forging friendships across the age groups - the gardens are blooming and plans made have come to fruition. We have won awards in the Cardiff in Bloom competition for the gardens with limited access - a really proud moment! The gardens are beyond value, knowledge is shared, all ages come together to work for a common goal - it’s brilliant!
Our greatest drive is to make improvements for the patient - this is one way that we make a very real difference.
Everyone is welcome to come along and lend a hand - experienced or not - just check the website for our gardening dates!
HONORARY PRESIDENT - Dr Laura Moss
Consultant Oncologist, Velindre Cancer Centre, Whitchurch, Cardiff
It’s hard to believe that TCSGW has now been in operation for 10 years. I don’t think I fully appreciated what we were about to embark upon when I first suggested trying to get a support group off the ground. I hoped that we may be able to provide valuable support for local patients and their families but beyond that I hadn’t really planned or dreamt. The Group are not only invaluable at providing support through their buddy system to newly diagnosed patients who are about to embark on treatment but they have made no end of improvements to the experiences of patients undergoing treatment in the isolation cubicles by brightening up the rooms and enhancing the facilities on offer. The work undertaken to provide attractive tranquil gardens outside the rooms has been fantastic and it’s been great to have this hard work acknowledged with Garden in Bloom awards. Funding has been provided by the Group to purchase additional patient information booklets and to produce a DVD to demonstrate what radioactive iodine treatment involves here at Velindre Cancer Centre.
Both of these additions have significantly helped to improve what can be a daunting experience. As well as the local work that the Group undertakes they also have a national and international presence which is invaluable. They have provided consumer feedback to clinicians involved in the development of national guidelines, clinical trial protocols and patient information resources. By attending conferences they help to promote the importance of patient support and by having representation on the committee of the Thyroid Cancer Alliance they can ensure that patients in Wales have a voice and a presence on the wider stage. In 2013 the Group kindly agreed to support and fund a research project that I was trying to launch across the UK and without them iNATT would not have got off the ground. I would just like to say how very proud I am of the Group and of all the hard work they have put in over their first 10 years. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and I wish you every success for the future!
CHAIRPERSON / TRUSTEE - Helen Hobrough
I am really proud to be the chairperson of the Thyroid Cancer Support Group Wales - we are the only charity in Wales supporting this particular form of cancer. We meet at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff and have regular meetings to discuss how we can make a difference in the lives of those people diagnosed with this rare form of cancer. We also offer help and support to their families too - one person may be diagnosed with thyroid cancer but there are many people willing to help in the fight against this disease.
SECRETARY / TRUSTEE / FOUNDER MEMBER - Georgina Miller
I have been involved with the Thyroid Cancer Support Group Wales for over ten years. At our first meeting we were deciding which person would like to take on one of the roles to enable the group to run and it became obvious that as I had been involved with Banking for over 30 years that I would be the Treasurer.
Each year the role is offered to the members in our group, but I have continued in this role with the support from the other members and trustees since the start of the Charity. My duties involve looking after the Bank Account's day to day running, I am a signatory along with three others in the group and our mandate states two people to sign every cheque when paying bills and expenses.
One of my other duties is to collate details of donations which enable us to claim to claim Gift Aid from H M Revenue as we are a Registered Charity, which can mean for every £1 donated we can increase this to £1.25p. Every end of year I produce accounts to be made available for the public to scrutinise as we are a charity and everything has to be above board
TRUSTEE - Dave Parsons
I became involved with the Thyroid Cancer Support Group Wales in 2006 when our daughter Sarah Liddle was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At the time of the diagnosis my wife and I were devastated, bewildered, confused and frightened for our daughter’s future. No one in the family had ever had problems with their thyroid, and we had no knowledge of the condition, the treatment, or the likely outcomes.
I was however aware of a friend and work colleague of mine (Cy Davies) who had received treatment for thyroid cancer. I was not aware at this time that Cy was a founding member and secretary of the Group. I asked Cy for his help to talk to Sarah and to us about his experiences of the process and treatment that Sarah would probably have to go through. Cy had no hesitation in visiting us and giving us a detailed description of what lay ahead and how he went about dealing with his situation. We certainly had a much better
understanding of what to expect. This helped Sarah and us to at least make some progress to come to terms with her diagnosis. During the period of Sarah’s treatment I attended the Group meetings which helped me to get a better understanding of thyroid cancer and its treatment and how members of the group had managed their situations. I also participated in activities undertaken by the Group such as seeking funds that would allow the Group to sponsor suitable projects etc. I also got involved in a project with Group members to clear and cultivate waste ground surrounding a treatment building which we made into gardens containing shrubs and flowers.
We continue to maintain the gardens which provide a pleasant outlook for the patients. The more I became involved with the Group, the more I became inspired by the aims and activities of the Group then I accepted an invitation to become a trustee. I am particularly inspired by the use of self help groups. Our meetings provide the opportunity for new and current members to discuss matters regarding diagnosis, treatment, or any other concerns they might have. There is a lot of experience around the table, and members are very pleased to share their experiences if they think it might be helpful. For those that might find this process of communication daunting there is the opportunity to arrange for a group member who has gone through the process of diagnosis and treatment, to share their experience with you over the telephone. My daughter Sarah has spoken with several newly diagnosed patients to explain the process and treatment that she experienced. The feedback she has been given has been very positive.
We are the only registered charity in Wales supporting this rare form of cancer l Tel: 0845 009 2737 l Registered Charity No 1113774