Keith Cancer Link was founded in 1983 as a support Group for people with all types of cancer, cancer related illnesses, families and carers.
A need was identified at the time for a support network for people enduring a “cancer journey”, as very little, or no support was available and families struggled to come to terms with their grief and loss.
After a consultation meeting with Medical, Social Work, Community Staff and Clergy it was agreed that a Support group “might”, be a good idea. When the Support Group meeting was intimated in the press people attended from all areas of Banffshire.
After successfully functioning for a year, Keith Cancer Link “The Group”, was officially named, a Constitution was prepared and a charitable status registered.
The Aims and the Objectives of the Group
Are to provide the people of Keith and District who are affected by cancer; cancer related illness with as much support and assistance and information as possible. It is a Voluntary Organisation, membership is free and informal and every one is made to feel welcome at meetings, a buddying system is in place, a telephone list allows members to be available for support at all times. The hand of friendship is there and Meetings allow members the opportunity to talk with people who share a common bond. It can help tremendously to be with people who truly understand what one is experiencing and can empathise with situations.
Meetings take various forms dictated by the 40 members and refreshments are provided by a local business on a regular basis
The geographic area is such that transport can be an endurance for cancer patients, trains, buses to Hospitals / Clinics, etc. can add anxiety, pain and stress. The mechanism in place is a door to door taxi service, A little comfort, support, assisting with the healing process which is vital to recovery also quality time with their loved ones who can accompany them on the journey.
The taxi service is available after an assessment; an escort from the Group can be available if requested. This service is for people who have cancer and are registered with the
Keith Health Centre Practice.
Travel covers, great distances for Appointments / treatments / therapies and consultations at Aberdeen. Elgin, and Inverness Hospitals, also the Oaks Hospice Day Care Centre, Elgin. Patients at Turner Memorial Hospital Keith who are able to travel by taxi rather than ambulance, also benefit from this service.
The taxi service is contracted by the Group, and is monitored on a regular basis. Its empathetic drivers are an asset; Patients can enjoy the comfort of a home to Hospital journey and spend valuable time with their families rather than stay in Hospital or other accommodation miles from home. Monies available for this service comes from Public donations, legacies and local businesses, also fund raising by members of the Group.
Other people who have benefited from the Group’s support:
Turner Memorial Hospital, Keith
Items for the Palliative Care Suite:
Day room upgrading:
5 aerodynamic beds etc. for comfort of cancer patients.
General Practitioners : various pieces of essential equipment over the years.
Health Centre Treatment Room : Smear testing equipment and Sterilizers.
Community District Nurses: Various essential equipment over the years
Community of Keith: 15 benches in areas of the town requested by members.
A cancer stricken child and his family were treated to a holiday in Disney world USA. Memories of their holiday are precious.
The Group is established as an asset to the community having developed strong understanding within the group and the local area by supporting cancer patients; families and carers. They foster the spirit of positive thinking and take a holistic approach to what is termed the “Cancer Journey” supporting those affected from initial diagnoses through all stages of treatment and coping with recovery or terminal illness.
The local GP’s, Turner Memorial Hospital Keith, Health Centre, Community Staff, Clergy and General public who refer cancer patients for support, value their work and knowledge.
The Press, Local Radio, Retailers, Outlets in the town assist by advertising meetings
Also methods of information on support via leaflets: posters of group activities.
Also contact is made to every major Cancer Charity on a regular basis.
Prior to this information there was no local support group for cancer patients in the Grampian area. The total number of those who have been positively impacted by the Group is difficult to quantify.
Keith Cancer Link was awarded the “Queens Award for Voluntary Services” to the community in 2009 and is in contact with all major Cancer Charities
Cancer Link Aberdeen North (CLAN) was established later and has gone on to be one of the Specialised Units for Cancer Support for Grampian Shetland and Orkney .
Support Groups have been formed in Elgin, Buckie , Huntly and Inverurie.
All instigated and supported from Keith Cancer Link.
The Group continues to go from Strength to Strength supporting Cancer patients, and families with as much help as possible to progress with the Cancer Journey.
Next year will be the 33rd Anniversary of “The Group”, during the years a lot of hard work commitment, effort, dedication and endeavour has contributed to its continuing success.
A Keith Cancer Link time capsule was buried in the memorial gardens Keith in 2000.
It contained memorabilia of the members,copies of the newspapers,Press and Journal.Northern Scot,Banffshire Herald and information on cancer services at the time.
Adeline Reid MBE