OUR charity of the month for June is the John Holt Cancer Support Foundation, where volunteers offer therapies such as facials and massages to help patients going through treatment.

THERE are plenty of opportunities for laughter, or tears, at the charity’s Museum Street centre.

Volunteers offer patients a chance to speak with someone who has been through cancer treatment themselves.

But people can also enjoy a spot of pampering in the organisations’s spa-style rooms.

The therapies began with a simple hand massage, as long time volunteer Maureen Carr explained: “Nurses found that it’s difficult to put a cannula in for people who are very nervous and who have come in for chemotherapy. We discovered that a hand massage helps them relax and anxious patients enjoyed it as well.”

Now the team of seven therapists offer massage, Reiki, manicures and other treatments.

Maureen added: “I used to be a teacher and met somebody else on a massage course who was volunteering. Now I go to the hospital too and do massages for the staff and the patients.

“It’s very nice being able to help people and see them relax and enjoy it.”

Founder of the charity Chris Holt said simple pleasures make a big difference for people suffering from the disease: “A young cancer patient told us she missed her pampering sessions because she was not able to use certain products while she was being treated. She said coming here to have treatments was ‘just awesome’ for her.”

And volunteers also help sick people with everyday tasks that most people take for granted.

Chris remembers a couple in their late 80s who had just become engaged and the woman simply asked if anyone could drive her to the hospital to visit her financé after surgery.

She added: “We need volunteers who can just go to people’s homes to take them out or to appointments or help them do the shopping.”

n Visit jhcancersupport.com.