*Mary Skehan, Lindsay Walsh and Theresa Murrihy. Photograph: Paschal Brooks.

CLARE Cancer Support, Sláinte An Chláir is encouraging cancer sufferers and survivors, along with their families to make use of their “evidence-based” services at their centre in Kilnamona.

It comes as volunteers and management move to clarify any confusion around the identity of cancer charities in Co Clare.

Clare Cancer Support, Sláinte An Chláir is a voluntary organisation based in Kilnamona which supports the people of Clare and their families affected by cancer. All its services are free of charge including physical therapies, exercise classes, lymphoedema management and a range of complementary therapies.

Run by volunteers, the service employs service provider who are trained and qualified in their area of practice at the centre. Beyond that, Sláinte An Chláir have been known to go the extra mile. During COVID-19, Sláinte An Chláir opened its doors for some cancer sufferers to isolate, where they were provided with meals and given a safe, supportive space to isolate.

Currently, Sláinte An Chláir provides up to 300 services a week, which includes the vital service of driving people to hospital appointments.

An article in The Clare Champion recently highlighted the provision of services being provided by the Clare 250 Cancer Centre in Ruan, a service which is completely unaffiliated with Sláinte An Chláir. Sláinte An Chláir are eager to inform the public of their own services and reinforce the message that they are a completely independent charity.

The Clare Echo visited Kilnamona this week and met with service users, management and volunteers.

Those who run the service every day told The Clare Echo that members of the public have confused them with the Clare 250 Cancer Centre in Ruan and they are eager to remind the public about the unique services they provide.

Anne Murphy, an oncology specialist who has been a cancer support nurse with Sláinte An Chláir since 2014, tells The Clare Echo, “All the services here are aligned with what best evidence is and what the National Cancer Control programme (NCCP) is advocating and trying to roll out in line with patient participation and their own care, so we tick all those boxes.

“Transport, counselling, complimentary therapies, meeting like-minded people, lymphoedema management, cancer support. That’s the evidence-based services here.

“Anyone can open a cancer centre and register it as a business, but there is no accountability for what they provide. We choose to be clinically governed … keeping abreast of all the current recommendations, best practice, and what the patient wants. It’s aligned with the patient.”

Theresa Murrihy is the honorary chairperson of Sláinte an Chláir, she adds that there are no paid staff in Clare Cancer Support. “We’re about the people of Clare and we look after our own community. We stand alone on our own, we’re funded by the people of Clare and we follow HSE guidelines.”

Anne continues, “People have supported other services [thinking it’s Slainte An Chláir] because they didn’t realise it was different. People give to cancer but sometimes they don’t really look behind the scenes.

“Ultimately when you have a service like this, it’s about the patient. The service we’re providing is at the core of the grassroots for the patient, not for anybody else”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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