Giving HOPE to those with cancer in France
How a programme is helping people cope a cancer diagnosis .
For Linda Gikas, the diagnosis of terminal cancer resulted in her retirement from teaching – and deciding to fulfil a dream.
When Linda’s cancer metastasized and became terminal, she swapped her life in Luton, Bedfordshire for the rural tranquillity of the Vienne in South West France, close to her sister Jacquie.
Over the past few years, Linda has lived happily in France with her husband, appreciating the beauty of the area and the relatively stress-free life. Linda’s health has benefited too, because despite the initial diagnosis, seven operations, many rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy for the bone cancer and two brain tumours, she is now cancer free and has lived many years more than the doctors predicted she would.
Supporting fellow cancer sufferers is also important to Linda – and her sister too.
Jacquie is a former matron of an end of life care and a hospice and is now President of the Cancer Support France (CSF) Vienne branch. Linda is the secretary, helping with fundraising events and other work.
An important aid to Linda’s recovery has been the HOPE programme run by Macmillan Cancer Support. HOPE stands for Help to Overcome Problems Effectively, a health and lifestyle coaching course to support people after cancer treatment.
The HOPE programme is a six-week course, one session a week, that provides a forum for airing any concerns and learning strategies to deal with living with cancer. It includes, nutrition, meditation, positive thinking, mind mapping, tackling the fear of recurrence and forward planning.
Linda is grateful for the support offered by the programme. She said, “It has been a fraught and difficult journey but the support from Macmillan and the strategies I learnt on the HOPE course really helped me through. The course has provided me with valuable tools, helping me to take one step at a time. Thank you.”
HOPE enables CSF branches to provide extra and valuable support to those touched by cancer and their families. The HOPE programme requires additional funding to train the CSF volunteers and to buy resources. If you would like to contribute towards the fundraising campaign, please contact your local CSF branch.
CA Britline has made a donation towards the HOPE fundraising programme.