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Pink Ladies/Pink Panthers and Bradley's Pharmacy, Springtown

Pink Ladies/Pink Panthers is a cancer support group that has been running for 11 years. They offer support to anyone that has had a cancer diagnosis and also their family and friends. They provide a range of support services and activities to enable those affected to come to terms with life during and after treatment. They were funded for a Level 1 BCPP project that was made up of six sessions with their local Pharmacist Rachael Dunne, Bradley’s Pharmacy, Springtown. For this project they brought together 18 men who were cancer patients and survivors with a goal of giving them the confidence to make positive changes.

At the start of the programme, the participants met up with their pharmacist to decide what they would like to cover in each session and were very vocal with their opinions. The group covered the issue of mental health in different ways by looking at ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’ and ‘Clearing your Head’. These sessions enabled the group to discuss the effects of a poor diet on your mental health and was very relevant to the participants who had had bowel cancer and had made healthy changes to their diet in recent times. They also covered the importance of taking time out and how to have control over your feelings which was very beneficial.

Partnering with Drink Think for a ‘Drink Wise,Age Well’ session on alcohol was well received as they have seen first-hand how alcohol is used as a means to cope with the difficulties and stress that comes with their situation. They covered drinking facts and truths around binge drinking and social drinking. There was a lot of chat about the misuse of alcohol and medication and the dangers of mixing both as most participants are on prescribed drugs and had no idea how excessive consumption of alcohol could cause unwanted side effects or even decrease the effectiveness of their medication. Session topics included Drink Wise Age Well, Healthy Eating Healthy Body, Clear your Head, Stress Management and Services your Pharmacy offers.

This session has led to the group taking up a six week course looking at their mental and physical health.Michelle McLaren, Development Worker, said “Focusing on mental and physical health improvement has given participants confidence to talk more and make positive changes. This project also demonstrated that you don’t need to be young to change habits or form new ones.”

The most positive aspect of the project was that at the end, all the participants felt confident enough to walk in to other places for help and support regarding issues affecting them. One man admitted that he felt like he was annoying his GP but now he is confident that he can speak to Rachael in the Pharmacy at any time. This has resulted in him feeling less anxious as he often would often have waited up to a week for an appointment with his GP.

Pink Ladies/Pink Panthers has recently secured funding for a Level 2 BCPP project where they will work with 15 male and female members who are survivors along with their family members and carers. The group will meet fortnightly and will partner with four community based groups.