Meditation classes at Macmillan Centre help in the emotional fight against cancer
09 March 2016
The Macmillan Cancer Support and Information Centre based at Southend Hospital runs a wide range of classes and events designed to support people affected by cancer.
The meditation and relaxation classes have proved so popular
that it's been a case of 'standing room only' at recent sessions
and the centre is seeking a second volunteer to host a class to
The classes, which started with only eight attending but have
now ballooned to nearly 30 attending, have been running in the
centre for the past year and help teach coping skills for stressful
The Macmillan Centre manager is Fred Englund, she said: "This
class has really helped put the centre on the map and has really
helped people along on their journey."
She added: "When a cancer diagnosis is given, the emotional and
physical effects are often very significant, leaving patients,
their families, carers and friends anxious and worried. Treatment
can be lengthy and exhausting; scans and follow-up appointments can
be stressful and dealing with everyday decisions can seem
overwhelming. The classes can be beneficial to helping overcome
Classes can also benefit someone who is finding it difficult to
talk about their experience of cancer, especially what is worrying
them or the strong emotions they are experiencing.
Weekly classes are run on a drop-in basis at the centre which is
based at Southend Hospital's main Prittlewell Chase site, with no
need to book.
Michael French, who runs the class on a voluntary basis,
explained: "People are often sceptical about the benefits of
mediation and relaxation. But once they overcome their initial
hesitation, the benefits are clear and meditation and relaxation
can be a powerful tool for individuals.
I've also really gained out of it as it's been very rewarding to
give something back and help other people who are going through a
Two of those who have benefited from the class are Gill Lang,
56, from Westcliff and Susan Sealey, 63, from Canvey.
Gill said: "I had tried a self-help CD at home but it's nothing
like coming here for a class by an expert. The guided meditation
promotes deep relaxation and I feel it really does benefit the
mind, body and soul. You really do feel the calmness and I think it
is something much overlooked in the Western world."
Susan added "It's like a little community here and you get lots
of different people at the class from those that have beaten
cancer, those currently having treatment to carers. The Macmillan
Centre is absolutely lovely and lots of us have been through so
much, there's a huge amount of benefit to these classes for those
that have beaten cancer as although we may feel physically better
it doesn't mean we have heeled emotionally and this class helps
Friederike concluded: "It's been great to be able to run these
classes and see how they've helped our centre users. Dealing with
cancer is a very stressful time and anything which helps develop
coping techniques can make a huge difference to someone's life. Our
classes have been so well attended, that we're running out of space
to accommodate everyone."
If you, or someone you know is dealing with a cancer diagnosis
and you'd like to know more about the support services provided,
get in touch. Or, if you are interested in volunteering to take a
second class please contact Fred Englund on 01702 385101, email Macmillan.firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the centre's Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/SouthendNHScancersupport.