Earl Spencer to officially open new Macmillan Cancer Support Centre at Kettering General Hospital
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The new Macmillan Cancer Support Centre at Kettering General Hospital is due to be officially opened by Earl Spencer this morning (January 16).
Shaped by local people living with cancer, the new state-of-the art centre brings together a range of vital cancer information and support services under one roof.
Since welcoming its first patient at the end of May 2022, the centre has already provided practical and emotional support to more than 1,224 people,
With around 24,000 people living with and beyond cancer in Northamptonshire, the centre fills a much-needed gap in local support.
Rachel Atkinson, Macmillan partnership manager for Northamptonshire, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to officially open this new centre which is already having a positive impact on the local community.
"Being diagnosed with cancer can affect so many different areas of your life, from relationships to finances.
"The new Macmillan Cancer Support Centre will support people with all those non-clinical needs, to enable them to live well with cancer, not just survive.”
Kettering’s Ken Westall, 74, diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2021, is one of the first patients to benefit from the new centre.
He said: “I was knocked off my feet when I was first told I had cancer. That’s when I first met Macmillan.
"They gave me the kind of support that’s like having a granny, someone you can talk to who’s just outside of your normal family life that will let you offload and get everything off your chest.”
Ken had chemotherapy and radiotherapy and is now waiting on scan results to find out if he needs surgery.
He said: “Macmillan provide that important counselling support that you need to express yourself. I talk a lot to other people now about their experiences.
"It does me good and it does them good. I’m thankful to Macmillan for keeping me in that glass half full situation.”
Danielle Mellows, Macmillan Cancer Information and support service lead, has been supporting patients in the new centre.
Leanne Hills, 44, from Stanwick, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2022.
She said: “Danielle has been invaluable. I didn’t know where to turn.
"I live on my own and work full-time and didn’t know where to start with benefits.
"I didn’t know if I’d be able to continue working during my treatment. It was very frightening with bills increasing and it was all on me.
“To have that sort of support locally is absolutely brilliant. It will be a lifeline to so many people.
"Previously I’d have to travel to Northampton for things like support groups. It’s great for families too, as they often don’t know where to turn, and they’re worried too.”
The centre, designed by GSS Architecture, will also offer a wig fitting service and provide space for cancer support groups to meet.
Ruth Giles, Macmillan head of nursing for cancer, added: “To be able to provide support in such a light, bright, welcoming space is wonderful and we’ve had a really positive response from patients who are already benefiting from the centre.”
The centre is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. No appointment needed. Call the centre on 01536 493888 or email [email protected] or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk.