A dedicated team of local cancer survivors, and those affected by it, have started a campaign to bring the first cancer care centre to Dundalk.
Maria Clarke and Claire Byrne, who is heading the team, have both been diagnosed by cancer previously and are eager to open the town’s first cancer care centre.
If successful, the centre will be run on a volunteer basis and will be called “The Cara Cancer Care” - Cara is an Irish word for friend.
The ladies are looking for a house or vacant premises in Dundalk that could be used as a place to help support cancer patients, cancer survivors and their families.
Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat about their campaign, the ladies say that they need all the support they can get from the people of Dundalk and surrounding area if this centre is to become a reality.
“The number of people being diagnosed with cancer in Dundalk is rising significantly,” said Maria, who is in remission.
“For a town the size of Dundalk, we need a place like this.
“Other towns that are of similar size and smaller have places like this. We need one here to support people,” Maria added.
The team plan to comfort those who are affected by cancer in a caring environment, where cancer patients and there families can access the support they need.
In order to make this happen, the team are appealing for everybody to offer some form of assistance - this can be financially, a skill-set or expertise - but a location is urgently needed.
“If somebody can find it in their heart to offer a house or premises to us, we would be grateful,” said Claire, “Everybody has something to offer.”
When Maria was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, she wanted to speak to somebody who was in the same position as her.
Having got a phone number from a friend, it was Claire who was at the other end of the line.
“I needed somebody to talk to,” said Maria, “Somebody who understood how I felt. People make new friends on their cancer journey, that’s why we want to name is the Cara Cancer Care Centre.”
Both Maria and Claire have thought about establishing such a centre for many years, but they feel the time is now right and Dundalk urgently needs this centre.
The teams first fundraiser will take place on Friday 10th May.
It will be called “The Fun Friday Funny Feet” and are urging people to become creative with their shoes either by decorating them or wearing a pair of odd shoes.
Schools, offices, factories, shops, restaurants and bars are asked to take part in the fundraiser.
Each person is asked to donate €2.
If you would like to get involved, phone 0874157544.
If you can assist the Care Cancer Care team, phone 0873955335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org