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HH Charity Of The Year 2003 - New Approaches to Cancer

from Here's Health magazine


Being diagnosed with cancer is a frightening and confusing experience that can leave you unsure about what to do or where to turn. If you decide to try alternative therapies for treatment, it can be even more difficult to get sound, informative advice. But the charity New Approaches to Cancer can help. Here's why we decided to choose it as the Here's Health charity of The Year for 2003.

Just over 30 years ago, two healers, Bruce McManaway and Marcus McCausland, and two doctors - Ian Pierce and Alec Forbes, who went on to set up the Bristol Cancer Help Centre - set up New Approaches to Cancer to bridge an important gap in cancer care. "They realised that although people were getting medical treatment, they weren't always receiving the emotional support that's so desperately needed", explains chairperson Dottie Hook.

They organised conferences on therapies to move treatment forward and led the way to a more integrated approach. The charity continues to do this today and now runs a truly nationwide network to put people in touch with qualified complementary therapists. It also organises support groups, including "yoga for cancer" residentials, across the country and offers advice and information on therapies at its headquarters in Chertsey, Surrey.

Dottie, a holistic therapist, became involved with the centre when her own therapy teacher died of cancer. This inspired her to explore ways to help with cancer therapy and she started running monthly seminars, classes and talks for New Approaches to Cancer.

"We're a truly holistic organisation", says Dottie. "We have around 40 volunteers and we're meeting and networking with new people all the time. At the moment we're helping patients and therapists, including Macmillan Cancer Relief, to set up complementary therapy centres".

The Power of Positive Thinking

New Approaches to Cancer believes having cancer is a journey that changes a person's life - and not always for the worse. "The illness can be a beneficial experience," says Dottie. "Something so profound offers the opportunity to reassess your life and your values." The therapies are very gentle and bring relief from some of the brutal, but necessary, conventional treatments. "Yoga, visualisation, flower remedies and herbs all help," says Dottie. "It's wonderful for patients and their families to feel there's something they can do for themselves."

The charity is run entirely on donations and relies on fund raising. Pauline Fray, who had cancer and is now a regular volunteer, says: "We work on a very personal scale - everything is tailor-made to the individual. Whatever a person's needs are, they will be met. And everyone here is so helpful. If the person who answers the phone can't help you, they will find someone who can."

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