People's Postcode Lottery help to launch relationship workshop

Wednesday 03 October 2018

New workshops to address the impact of cancer on closest relationships thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Recognising the impact cancer has on people’s closest relationships, we have designed and launched five new standalone workshops to help people navigate their closest relationships, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The new workshops have been designed to reflect the issues we already hear from centre visitors like Michelle and James.

Maggie's visitors Michelle and James Burton got married in July and say it's unlikely their nuptials would have happened without support from Maggie’s.

Michelle, 51, from Rutherglen, near Glasgow, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. 

The diagnosis and treatment had a big impact on their relationship and they both reckon it was support from Maggie’s which got their relationship ‘back on track’. 

James explains:

“We’d been together for four years prior to Michelle’s diagnosis and we’d been through a lot during Michelle’s treatment and physical recovery.

But it was actually a few months past her treatment that Michelle shut down with regards to talking about her feelings, she was starting to keep it all in and I didn’t know what to say to her either.

We were both going through a rocky patch. That’s when I arranged to have a few sessions at Maggie’s, where Michelle was already being supported.

The cancer support specialist talked things through with me and I felt so much better because there were things left unsaid to Michelle and worries I had that I didn’t want to speak to her about.

I believe it was through that help at Maggie’s that Michelle and myself were able to get our relationship back on track again."

Michelle added:

“I don’t know where we would have been without Maggie’s, and I feel so thankful for the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery as I know their generosity means Maggie’s can continue to help many more people like myself and James.”

The new workshops

The new evidence-based workshops have been developed on the back of research Maggie’s conducted earlier this year revealing that two thirds (67%) of people living with cancer, either themselves or with a partner with cancer, believe that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment has had an impact on their relationships.

The five new relationship workshops are: 

  • Relationships when life is full of uncertainty: Learn how to manage the challenges placed on a relationship when it feel like you are living in 'limbo'
  • Relationships when your body has changed: Learn how to manage the physical and emotional challenges placed on relationships when your body have changed due to your cancer and treatments.
  • Supporting and talking with children: Learn how to support and talk with children at different ages when someone special in their life has cancer
  • Talking with your medical and nursing teams: Learn how to build a comfortable working relationship with your hospital medical and nursing teams and GP so you can talk in a way that works best for everyone.
  • Starting a new relationship: Learn how to navigate the highs and lows of a new relationship when living with and beyond cancer.

Our Relationships workshops are an incredibly important addition to our core evidence based programme of support and I would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for making it happen.

Relationships play such an important role in our lives and all relationships - be it with your children, a significant other or with yourself - are hugely impacted by a cancer diagnosis, so to be able to access substantial psychological support to navigate the issues that arise will make a tremendous difference to those trying to live as best a life as they can with cancer.

Lesley Howells, Maggie’s Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Research Lead

Maggie’s has received almost £12million from players of People’s Postcode Lottery in the ten years since the two organisations started working together.

The funds have ensured Maggie’s has been able to support thousands of people with cancer, as well as family and friends, at the network of 20 support centres across the UK.

Helping people living with cancer to nurture their closest relationships through workshops is a great initiative and the more people who can benefit from the expertise of the team at Maggie’s Centres the better.

It’s through the charity’s own long-term relationship with players of People’s Postcode Lottery that has allowed Maggie’s, over the past ten years, to help thousands of people with cancer and that’s a friendship worth celebrating.

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery

The Maggie’s relationship survey, conducted in January 2018, revealed a number of reasons couples gave as to why their relationships were affected including the change of roles within the relationship - with someone suddenly taking on a new carer role. Feelings of stress, anger, fear, sorrow and worry all were cited as putting a strain on the relationship.

And while many people find cancer brings them closer together – spending more time together due to the multiple hospital appointments, and spending more quality time together to make every moment count – the profound changes cancer brings can in fact drive a wedge between a relationship.

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