CANCER patients and survivors came together to focus on life beyond cancer.

Patients and their families attended the Warrington clinical commissioning group's event at the Gateway to access vital support about health and well-being – importantly when treatment has finished.

Dr Sue Burke is the clinical lead for cancer and end of life services at NHS Warrington.

She said: “When you’re having cancer treatment it’s a huge shock and it scares you and you are surrounded by loads of people.

“Then when your treatment finishes you are left alone, and people often say they are worried by every little pain they feel because they think the cancer is coming back.

“More people are now living than dying from cancer, so we need to treat it as a long-term condition rather than a terminal diagnosis.

“These events are relatively new and are held every six months – this is our third.”

In partnership with LiveWire and St Rocco’s Hospice, the clinical commissioning groups run a cancer and life limiting illness support programme.

Paul Corless, from LiveWire, said: “We help people to manage the side effects of treatment and work with well-being tools.

“You find that after treatment people want to shut it off and forget about having cancer but when people come to these events you feel that they get into it and start to share with others.

“If there’s any advice I could give to people, it’s to keep active during your treatment, eat well and remember there is always support available.”

Megan Elliot, from Winwick, who describes herself as a cancer survivor, was at the event to inspire others to take part in fundraising events for Cancer Research UK.

She helped set up a new event for the charity after her own cancer journey.

She said: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.

“I went to a fundraising event in Jersey because my best friend lives there and I thought, 'when I’m better I’ll come and do it myself'.

“In July 2017 I got involved and as soon as I got home I got my laptop out and tried to see where the nearest event was to Warrington.

“I couldn't find it anywhere and I thought, 'why are we not doing this here?'”

Megan went on to help set up Relay for Life, a fundraising challenge for a team of people.

The team fundraise together and take it in turns to walk laps of a track all day and night for an entire weekend.

Megan explained: “The idea is that cancer doesn’t rest so neither does the event.

“Cancer survivors are our guests of honour and they start off the event and do the opening lap and every year we hope to see more and more survivors.

“On the Saturday night we have a candle of hope ceremony.

“We plan to line the track with candles- it’s very poignant and it is about remembrance."

The Relay for Life will take place over the weekend of September 7 and 8, 2019 and registration will open in November.

The team is hoping to base the relay at Victoria Park.

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