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.