CANCER survivor Joanne Sutherland has launched her own support group to help others after undergoing nine months of treatment.
Six months of chemotherapy and three of radiotherapy saved her life.
Now, along with her friend Cathryn Rasdell, she has set up Charlie’s – named after her grandfather Charlie, who died of cancer when she was 11.
The group will provide a place where both cancer and and post-cancer patients can meet others in the same situation and have a bit of fun together.
Treatments and games are provided, including Reiki, Indian head massage, raffle, pool, snooker and darts.
Cathryn, who lives in Quedgeley, said: “I lost my mother to cancer so Joanne and I experienced a similar situation and that is why we decided to set up the group and help others. We had more than 30 people come to the group, including a GP and people from the chemotherapy unit.
“When my mum was going through the illness I found there was not much support around for cancer patients following treatment.
“It was a bit of a grey area. Up until patients are discharged, you have the support of nurses but patients often go through the motions alone after.
“Our aim is to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.”
She added: “Eventually we would like to open a small centre similar to Maggie’s in Cheltenham for people in Gloucester, so it will be a home from home to people.
“It can be a little bit of escapism for people.”
Charlie’s next meeting will be on May 7 from 10am to 2pm. It is for all cancer patients, whatever stage of treatment they are at, as well as post-cancer patients.
It will take place at The Capital Venue in Edison Close on the Waterwells Business Park.
Joanne, who works for South West Ambulance Trust and runs her own business RnR Therapy, said: “We were extremely pleased with the first one. Many of the people returned for the second one as well, with new members.
“Eventually we would like to open our own centre which is open every day. We received £265 from Macmillan towards the new venture last week.”
To find out more about the group or to make a donation, call Joanne on 07786 547 439.