Support group goes from strength to strength
A support group for Norfolk families affected by young people’s cancer is celebrating its first anniversary this month – coinciding with International Childhood Cancer Day on Friday 15 February.
Known as Wiggly (the children’s name for a Hickman Line, which is used in cancer procedures), the group was set up by Danica and Robert Dockray, whose six-year-old son Matthew is recovering from Burkitt’s lymphoma.
After Matthew’s treatment finished we found ourselves feeling lost and wanted to be able to see and speak to people who had been through a similar experience, to let them to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, explained Danica.
At the very first meeting it became apparent that many parents struggled with the competing needs of the sick child, hospital appointments, siblings and work and needed information and advice about the practical support and help available.
Cancer takes over people’s lives and it is helpful for families to be able to share their experiences and information, right from the time of diagnosis.
Monthly meetings are held in the evenings at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and speakers so far have included a Macmillan nurse, a counsellor from the Big C Centre and an art therapist who was able to discuss the value of using art to help children explore their feelings.
Former Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, who lost his daughter to leukaemia in 1992, is a strong supporter of the group and will be the speaker at the next meeting, on 6 February
Wiggly is also supported by the oncology specialist team at NNUH and a CLICSargent Family Support Worker, as well as the paediatric team at Addenbrookes.
The group liaises closely with the Big C, Macmillan, COPARS (Cambridge based parents group) and NACCPO (National Alliance of Childhood Cancer Parent Organisations) and is listed in the Macmillan Directory of self help groups as well as Heron website.
Wiggly is open to anyone who supports a child or young person with cancer. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07990 990158, where you can leave a message and Wiggly will get back to you.