Marie Keating Foundation, CEO, Liz Yeates shares how we have adapted our services to help provide vital support, advice and information to those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 Pandemic and thanks those who have supported us during this difficult time
The last few weeks have been extremely challenging for all of us. For our wider community of supporters and service users, it has been a time filled with uncertainty and fear and in the face of this unprecedented global pandemic, we understand that this crisis has been especially difficult for anyone affected by cancer. Here at the Foundation, in line with government guidance we have been forced to cancel all of our fundraising events, an action which has had a devastating impact on our income, and has also challenged us to agilely adapt our services to protect the most vulnerable and for the greater good.
Many of you reading this are living with cancer and may still be undergoing treatment, some of you are cancer survivors and many of you have loved ones affected by cancer.
I want you to know that even during these difficult times, the Marie Keating Foundation is here to support you.
Our team has been working tirelessly to respond to the current situation and have adapted our services, to ensure that we can still provide support and information to our communities and to those on a cancer journey. The health and safety of our service users and staff is at the heart of everything we do here at the Foundation and so we have listened, reacted and adapted many of our services to ensure that those affected by cancer receive the best supports possible while staying safe and adhering to government guidelines.
We are fortunate that we have been able to stay connected with our communities through this challenging time with the help of online seminars phone-lines and messaging platforms. In light of Government advice, we made the decision to transition our monthly Positive Living group meetings from a face to face meeting to an online group via twice monthly webinars and a closed What’s App group, providing support and community to those living with an advanced cancer diagnosis.
Our third annual BRCA conference has similarly been adapted to be given in an online webinar format, sharing advice from experts in the field with men, women and their families diagnosed with a positive BRCA gene mutation.
Our nursing team has been working extremely hard to answer queries and provide support to all those that contact us, and a dedicated page with information and advice on how to navigate this pandemic for those on a cancer journey has been created for our website. We have also put together a page on staying healthy while at home, giving tips and advice on diet, exercise and more while people are self-isolating and cocooning. As COVID-19 has directly impacted our income, we are running a Crisis Cancer Appeal to raise funds to support these vital services.
For those of you who have supported the Foundation in the past and have stood by us during this troubling time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you – your support is truly humbling.
In the days and weeks to come, we can all play our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our own families and those most at risk (anyone with underlying health issues, patients on cancer treatments, people who are immunosuppressed due to many other health-related conditions and our elderly population) from the Coronavirus. Many of our staff members are now working successfully from home, meaning that we can still work to support those who need it most through this time, but also continue in our mission to ‘make cancer less frightening by enlightening’, increasing awareness of cancer prevention and improving early detection rates.
Not being able to reach out and give those we love a hug, or call around to a friend for a chat has been difficult for all of us, not least those undergoing treatment for cancer that have been advised to cocoon and limit all face to face interactions. We have been forced to find more creative ways to communicate. We have been forced to think before we act and take steps to help protect not only ourselves, but the most vulnerable within our society. However challenging, I do hope that this wider respect and care for one another is something that will endure long after this crisis has passed.
While these last few weeks have been difficult, they will not last forever and if we all play our part, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those most in need. We have committed to being there for people at every step of their cancer journey, and with your help, we can continue to do this even during these uncertain times.
If you can, please consider making a donation to help support our services by clicking here.
Thank you, keep well and stay safe,