Raising awareness of cancer support in Edinburgh Libraries

An event to raise awareness of the services on offer in libraries to support those affected by cancer and their relatives is set to take place next week.

On Thursday, 15 March, members of the public will be able to learn more about Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries, which was launched in Central and Craigmillar libraries last February, and has since been introduced in Drumbrae, Leith, Morningside and Portobello libraries.

The service provides drop-in sessions at each location, where members of the public can speak to specially-trained volunteers and receive advice and information for coping with cancer in the comfort and convenience of their local library.

On Thursday, participants can find out more about support on offer from Macmillan and other partners Cancer Support Scotland, Maggie’s and VOCAL, as talks on ovarian and prostate cancer. They will also hear from speakers including Michaelagh Broadbent, who wrote the children’s book My Daddy is My Superhero to help her young sons come to terms with their father’s serious illness, and John Young, author of Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist, which tells the story of a young man dying from cancer.

Education, Children and Families Convener, Councillor Ian Perry, said: “Over the last year, Macmillan Support Service has made a real impact in the libraries where it’s on offer, providing sensitive and useful advice to people in a familiar setting.

“We want to make sure as many people as possible benefit from the support on offer, so I would encourage anyone who may be affected by cancer, or who knows someone who is, to come along and find out more about the help on offer in local libraries.”

Alasdair Ferguson, Macmillan Cancer Support volunteer at Morningside Library, said: “As someone who has had a cancer diagnosis, I know how important getting good information and support at the right time is, and what a difference this can make. I enjoy being a Macmillan at Edinburgh Libraries volunteer; available in in local communities, we can offer relevant information, a friendly ear, access to Macmillan services, and a cup of tea!”

Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries provides emotional support and signposting to additional services, staffed by volunteers trained in cancer awareness and listening skills.

Cancer Support Scotland works in partnership with Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries to offer counselling services and mindfulness courses in selected City of Edinburgh Libraries. This is available free of charge to service users and Macmillan @ Edinburgh libraries volunteers are able to refer people to these services.

Macmillan @ Edinburgh Libraries Cancer Information and Engagement event will take place on the Mezzanine Floor of Central Library on Thursday, 15 March between 11am and 2pm. Anyone interested in attending the event, which will also feature stalls and free lunch and coffee, should register on Eventbrite.

Find out more about Macmillan Cancer Support in libraries on the Council website.

Additional quotes

Michaelagh Broadbent, author of My Daddy is My Superhero, said: "I'm very honoured to be able to speak at this event. We are a young family who have been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for many years, and whilst I've learned along the way that there isn't much we can do to change the situation itself, I've found that it's my response to our situation, especially for my children, that is incredibly important. What I've tried to achieve through writing my book is to simply convey a message about love and positive memories that remain regardless of a person's struggle through cancer - it's a message that I hope will provide comfort and reassurance to patients and their families alike, to help them celebrate all the wonderful things about the loving relationships they have created along the way. I hope people will enjoy learning about my family's story, my book and the message I have to share."

John Young, author of Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist, said: “I feel very excited and privileged to support the wonderful work of Macmillan and Scottish Libraries by taking part in the event on Thursday 15th March. My book is a bitter sweet comedy about friendship and escape and the relationship that a teenager suffering from cancer has with someone who used to bully him. I felt that it was important to write an exciting uplifting story where one of the characters is dealing with cancer through an adventure rather than a book about cancer per se. My experience of my own daughter’s illness was that she was always keen never to be left out and never to be labelled as the ‘sick child’. I aim to talk about how we coped as a family through our daughter’s illness, the benefits of creativity in coping and a chat about and a short reading from Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist.”

Christina Pacitti, who will be representing Ovarian Cancer Action at the event, said: "After learning of my BRCA mutation in September 2015, my aim has been to try and raise awareness in the hope that it helps others. I really do believe that knowledge is power and I’m happy to be part of an event letting people know that support is there for those who need it."

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