Video: Cookstown singer backs Charis campaign after wife’s cancer battle

A Cookstown singer who has penned a song about his wife’s battle with cancer has joined the campaign to help the Charis Cancer Centre win a £50,000 award.

Charis Cancer Centre’s ‘New Ways of Thinking’ initiative is one of the projects that has been shortlisted for receiving funding in the People’s Millions TV contest, a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.

Local singer songwriter Justin McGurk with Charis Cancer Care psychotherapist Dr Tillie Doherty McElholme.

Local singer songwriter Justin McGurk with Charis Cancer Care psychotherapist Dr Tillie Doherty McElholme.

Justin McGurk wrote a song ‘If I Could Take Your Place’ when his wife Roisin was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Justin said they were fearful of the future, but both benefitted immensely from the help and support of local charity, Charis Cancer Care.

“After Roisin’s Cancer diagnosis there was a period of real fear and uncertainty about the future,” said the Cookstown man.

“When we were introduced to Charis Cancer Care, we benefited immensely from the services they offered.

“Charis provided us with holistic therapies such as Reflexology and Massage, counseling and dietary advice. One patient summed it up by saying after finding Charis; cancer no longer dominated my thoughts.”

Charis Cancer Care is a self- funded charity which supports cancer patients through their journey by providing body therapies such as massage, aromatherapy and reflexology, counselling, advice on benefit entitlements and nutritional advice.

Therapists and tutors work with the person as a whole, ensuring they benefit from advice and treatments which are free of charge.

There are four £50,000 awards up for grabs in the region, one for each night from November 24 to November 26, as well as a bonus award for the runner-up with the most votes across the week.

Imelda McGucken, Director of Charis Cancer Centre explains the opportunity and how local people can support the ‘New Ways of Thinking’ project to secure vital funding:

“It is a fantastic achievement for Charis Cancer Centre to have been shortlisted in the People’s Millions TV Contest. Though now that we’ve managed to reach this stage, we really need the support of local people to help us successfully compete and secure vital funding for a project that is focused on helping local people who are coping with cancer.

“For those who may not be familiar with this fund or the process that goes with it, two projects are identified to go head to head every night for three nights from Monday 24 November.

“The Charis Cancer Centre ‘New Ways of Thinking’ initiative will feature in the first broadcast on Monday 24 November alongside the ‘Build a Beach’ Project which is linked to the Titanic Foundation.

“A short video will be shown about Charis Cancer Centre and the ‘Build a Beach’ project. The public will then be asked to vote for the project that they would like to receive the award via a phone vote. The number that people will be asked to ring will be featured in the TV programme but it will also be published in the Mirror on Monday 24 November. Votes are counted and then the results will be announced the following day.”

Imelda adds: “I would ask everyone to actively get involved and grasp the opportunity that exists to help secure vital funding that will make a tangible difference to individuals that are coping with the impact of cancer on their lives. Voting lines are open from 9am on the morning of the broadcast until midnight and we need everyone to pick up the phone and vote.

“Since first opening its doors to the public in March 2010, Charis has helped in excess of 2,300 people with their cancer journey. It costs approximately £500 to pay for each individual’s treatment at the centre. So, if the charity were successful in winning the £50,000 prize, this would mean that the organisation could help 100 people on their cancer journey.

“Charis Cancer Care is based close to Cookstown and we currently work with people across Northern Ireland offering a range of services covering financial and benefits advice, counselling and nutritional advice and body therapies, reflexology, massage and aromatherapy. In addition the charity also provides advice on specialist services such as wig fitting.”

Lend your support to this really worthy cause by using the #votecharis. When the phone number becomes available we will add this onto the hashtag. Everyone can play a role in helping to secure funding and we really value your support.