03 Oct 2022

Cancer sufferers in Donegal urged to reach out for help

Charity funded 302 sessions here last year

Cancer sufferers in Donegal urged to reach out for help

Irish Cancer Society director of services, Donal Buggy

The Irish Cancer Society is encouraging anyone affected by cancer in Donegal and who is in need of free counselling support to reach out for help.

The charity is doubling its funding for the service to more than €800,000 this year to ensure people can access this crucial free service when it is needed more than ever.

Cancer patients, survivors and those around them have had to deal with a huge amount during the pandemic including disruptions to treatments and services, social isolation and uncertainty around vaccinations. This has understandably taken its toll on people at a time when they are also dealing with a life-changing diagnosis.

Counselling provides a safe space for people to talk about their worries and anxieties in a supportive and non-judgmental setting.

The Irish Cancer Society funded some 302 counselling sessions in Donegal in 2020, ensuring that the service was able to continue on a remote basis during the pandemic.

Counselling is available for children and adults, including family members as well as those directly impacted by a cancer diagnosis or who have lost loved ones to cancer. Whether your experience is recent or in the past the service is available to you.

Referrals for counselling sessions are available through the Society’s Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700 and

Cancer patient Anne Kearney from Dublin who received free counselling sessions last year spoke of the difference they made for her: “It was during the first lockdown that I was told over the phone that I had cancer. I got the news on 4 June, four days before my 60th birthday, and on 12 June I was told the cancer they picked up had spread and I was to start chemotherapy the following Monday.

“I had great support from my own circle, but it got to a stage where I just wanted to speak to a trained person. I’ve experienced so many fantastic people and services over the last year, including through counselling. It’s a scary, lonely journey especially given all that’s appening in the world recently, but to know that you have these services beside you and to call upon if you need them is amazing,” Anne said.

Experienced cancer counsellor Deirdre Stanley added that it’s often not just the person who receives the diagnosis who needs support as a cancer diagnosis can incur feelings of “shock, fear and panic”.

She said: “Talking with somebody can help break these feelings down and make them more manageable. People can now access it from anywhere with the remote service, and many actually find it more comforting being able to do it from their own home environment.”

Welcoming the increased funding commitment for counselling, Irish Cancer Society director of services, Donal Buggy, said thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the public who responded to their Daffodil Day and Late Late Show fundraisers they are able to ensure that anyone affected by cancer who requires counselling can get the help they need.

“This has been a really challenging time for anyone affected by cancer, with some people isolated from their normal support network of family or friends. 

“Each of our counsellors are very experienced at working with people affected by cancer. We want to tell people that it’s ok for them to take the first step and reach out, and any concerned family members or loved ones can do the same,” he said.

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