ITS aim was to provide holistic care in a setting far removed from the clinical feel of a hospital.

Founded by leading cancer researcher Sir Kenneth Calman in 1980, Cancer Support Scotland now offers hundreds of counselling sessions as well as wellbeing and therapy courses

And now thanks to a grant through The Herald’s Cash for Charity initiative it can continue to help people who come through their doors.

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Cancer Support Scotland was one of eight finalists selected for the initiative through our parent company's charitable arm The Gannett Foundation and has received a share of £16,000. Throughout November tokens printed in The Herald were collected and thanks to supporters and Herald readers, the charity will receive almost £1400.


Karen Lynch sought the help of Cancer Support Scotland twice

Karen Lynch sought the help of Cancer Support Scotland twice


In 2012, The Calman Cancer Support Centre, formerly the Gartnavel Royal Chapel, was opened and today it provides holistic wellbeing care to those affected by cancer through counselling, complementary therapy, befriending services and coping with change workshops.

Catherine Salmond, Editor of The Herald, said: “It continues to be a difficult environment for charities to raise funds to allow them to carry out their tremendous work. We are delighted to be able to help through our Cash for Charities initiative.

“Thanks to our readers our chosen charity, Cancer Support Scotland, will receive almost £1400 to be able to help people through their cancer journey. We hope it makes a difference to the charity and the many people it supports.”

Over the past six months the charity has offered 1000 free counselling sessions and help can range from sitting down and talking to someone at the beginning of their cancer journey to helping prepare them when they are taking their first steps to a new life after recovery. They are also bringing on more volunteer counsellors to help cope with the demand.


David Johnstone and wife Sharon

David Johnstone and wife Sharon


Rob Murray, CEO of Cancer Support Scotland, said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive these funds from The Gannet Foundation. We know that these are challenging times for everyone, and this generous donation will make a massive difference by allowing us to support those affected by cancer throughout Scotland. A huge thank you to everyone that took the time to collect and return our tokens, we are so grateful for your support. These amazing funds will cover the cost of 27 wellbeing appointments for those that need us most."

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Stephanie Quigley, service manager with Cancer Support Scotland, has a background in oncology massage and concentrates on complementary therapies including massage, Reiki, and reflexology. The grant will help the charity continue to offer these kinds of services.

She said: “We have been running workshops on Coping with Change. It is a five-week course which we offer in person and online.

“It offers ways to cope and manage stress or how to deal with panic attacks as well as offer mindfulness techniques. We have also started offering our services in venues in communities to make the services more accessible to people.”

One thing that cancer patients can find difficult is how to move on and rebuild and the charity is there for people at this stage as well.

“We have designed a course which is held in the Calman Centre called the Next Chapter and it is exactly that,” added Ms Quigley. “We realised there was a gap in the provision of services and developed the 90-minute sessions which are held over six weeks. It can be daunting for someone who has gone through cancer treatment and is reaching the end of it. The course is about helping them with the tools to go with the next stage in their life.”

It is changing times for the charity as it will soon be welcoming new trainees and volunteers.

Ms Quigley added: “We have trainees who come to us as part of the courses they are studying and for their placements some of them choose to come to us because they have had a family connection with cancer.

“As with our trainees and our staff members we do provide ongoing support because it is important to look after our own wellbeing to be able to support and care for others.”

David Johnstone, 55, turned to Cancer Support Scotland for support following his diagnosis and described them as a "light at the end of the tunnel."

It was with the help of his counsellor Natalie Barron that he was able to navigate his feelings while she provided tools for coping with stress.

Cancer Support Scotland gave him the outlet he needed to speak openly about his concerns and fears without worrying about the stress it would cause his family.

“I didn’t feel like I had to hide anything when speaking to Natalie," he added.

While Karen Lynch called on their services twice after two cancer diagnoses. From the shock of her diagnosis to the physical and mental impact of treatment, the 57-year-old admits she felt alone at times but Cancer Support Scotland was there when she needed them.

The centre became Mrs Lynch’s lifeline with her adding: “I immediately felt at peace in The Calman Centre, it provided a much-needed sanctuary in between all the appointments and medical talk.”

The other Scottish charities to receive a share of the £16,000 cash pot are Greenock Medical Aid Society (£5001.21), Sense Scotland (£1190.46), Action on Asbestos (£1281.04), RSABI (£1,138.70), East Lothian Roots and Fruits SCIO (£1908.61), Fermanagh BrightStarz (£1,061.06), Finding Your Feet (£1,015.77), Fairway Fife (£1,009.30) and Galashiels and Area Foodbank (£1,002.83).