Cancer Lifeline Breaks began in 2002 with the idea of providing help and support outside a hospital setting.
It started life as Lifeline Resources and offered ‘Time to Retune’ breaks at Sharpham House near Totnes.
The founders – Margaret Merrington and Sarah Delfont trained as counsellors in 1995 at the College of St Mark and St. John and went on to work at the Mustard Tree Cancer Support Centre based at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Margaret and Sarah became aware that the end of treatment was often a challenging time for people and that it was at this point many people needed more support, particularly as the routine of treatments dropped off and contact with the hospital and the staff receded. They were also offered space at the wonderful Sharpham House if they could use it so the idea was then hatched – to provide short restorative breaks outside the hospital setting.
Stepping off the treadmill of hospital appointments, people are expected to get back to their lives again. This can be a time when the reality of what someone has been through hits with force. Friends and family may be celebrating and yet the impact of the treatments continues, emotionally and physically for some time.
Taking stock and looking back is not always easy; sometimes there may be anger around a slow diagnosis or a misdiagnosis or a sense of unfairness – why me?
Looking forward may be difficult as life can never be quite the same as it was. Lifeline was set up to support the onward journey for both patients and their carers; to help create an inner calmness and develop strategies for coping with life when it becomes difficult.
Margaret and Sarah saw a need and worked tirelessly to set up this unique charity.