Annual Newsletter from our President Sue Ware

With Christmas fast approaching and the end of the year in sight, it is time for me to write my end of year message to thank you for your support throughout 2017.

Cancer Support Haute-Vienne has had a busy year again, helping 24 new clients this year. As always some of them need a lot of support, but some only need that one conversation, or information or translation help. But we are here for them whatever their needs.

We have had a number of very successful fund raising events held across the departments and across the year. Thank you to all of you who help to organise these events, and to all of you who supported them. The money raised, as always, goes towards our training programme which is so important in supporting the clients we have.

We had a very successful ITC (Initial Training Course) in April with Richard and Viv Milne doing the training. We have now acquired a further four excellent Active Listeners joining our team. They have all had clients, being plunged in the deep end within weeks of being trained.

One member of our executive committee resigned in the autumn and we thank her for all her support over the time she was with us. We are delighted that we have three new members, who joined in September and we have already had a very constructive exec meeting.

The Bureau decided at the beginning of 2017 that we would rationalise our publicity. So we now have a very co-ordinated look with wallets and envelopes holding our leaflets, information about becoming a member, Active Listener, bookmarks and cards. All this information is in French as well as English so we can pass it to French colleagues when we visit the doctor, accompany a client to hospital or give to friends to pass on. If you would like some of this material, perhaps to pass on to your GP, please let us know.

We are also having our web site updated, which should be up and running in the New Year.

As I am sure you are aware, in March our trainer and the co-founder of Cancer Support France, Linda Shepherd, died. She had fought so bravely for over two years the metastases that had returned after 14 years of remission. We had a wonderful funeral service in La Rochefoucauld Church and then a good wake in the Parish rooms afterwards where there was much laughter and tears. People from CSF National came and various presidents from the many associations founded under Linda’s umbrella. Mind you, she would have been cross as she hated things starting late, as there was a delay in the arrival of the service sheets for the service. We were all sure she did not approve!

Sadly in November, her husband Andy also died. We think he probably gave up as Linda was such a fighter and Andy, himself not a well man, just faded away. He too was such a supporter of his wife’s work and will be sorely missed, certainly by CSH-V as a source of support and wisdom.

As we approach the New Year we have an exciting competition for 2018. So please look out for information in the etcetera magazine in January. Our AGM is being organised for Wednesday 7 March in the Salles des Fetes at the Mairie in Videix (87600) for 2.30 pm. We have asked our patron, Dr Cornelia Wilson, to be our guest speaker again. We hope some of you may come along. And we plan training in the morning for our Active Listeners and are inviting two new potential ALs to join us and meet our team. We have a new ITC planned for the two new potential ALs also in March with CS Deux-Sevres.

Richard has just attended the last Patients’ Committee meeting of the year at CHU Haematology department. He has done a lot of translation work for them and now the hospital would like his help as a translator for patients across the hospital. We feel this is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work that CSH-V does and Richard in particular.

So I take this opportunity to thank you for your support. As I always tell our ALs, we could not do what we do without them and you, our members – we are all part of a great team.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2018. Looking forward to your continuing support and with heartfelt thanks from the many clients who we support and who are so grateful that we are there for them.