Chai Cancer Care is an organisation that began life in the minds and hearts of two inspirational women, Susan Shipman and Frances Winegarten z’l. Both had personal experience of what it meant to live with the effect of a cancer diagnosis at a time when clear information and support for the patient, let alone their family was next to nil. Now there is a generation who cannot remember a time when the services Chai offers were not available!
As Chai’s reputation has grown both nationally and internationally, in response to the relentless demand we have developed our services accordingly. Starting with one single service, a telephone helpline, we now provide 58 specialised services to just over 3175 cancer patients and their loved ones. These can be accessed from either one of our 11 centers across the UK or the full range of services is available at our flagship centre in North West London and include: Counselling for individuals, couples and families, Complementary Therapies, Children, Teenage and Family Service, Support Groups, Advice and Advocacy and Nutritional and Dietary advice.
For those clients who cannot come to a Chai centre because they are too unwell, Chai offers a Home Support Service. In addition, our expertise and care is provided worldwide through our Telephone and Skype service.
Our Medical Advisory Panel, comprising of renowned experts in their respective fields are pivotal to ensuring that we remain at the forefront of cancer care. They keep us up-to-date with the latest research and treatments across the cancer care spectrum so that we can continue to track, anticipate and provide a level of support that is simply unmatched anywhere in the world.
As each year passes the organisation continues to add new groups and services. Services that compliment and extend the existing range of life-changing provisions. A striking example is our initiative to spearhead a ground-breaking Medical Outpatient Rehabilitation and Palliative Care Service. Based in the Chai Flagship centre in North-West London, this is a three way collaboration with the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and Marie Curie Cancer Care to address cancer survivorship. The combination of earlier diagnosis and better treatment, has resulted to thankfully more people living for longer with cancer (Macmillan announced that over 50% of patients being cured). Whilst this is so encouraging, the reality is that many people are living with the effects of surgery and cancer treatment which has left them with both physical and emotional changes and challenges.
Another area which Chai is developing in response to demand is the Children, Teenage and Family Service. We have noticed a dramatic increase across the UK in the number of young parents diagnosed with cancer. The impact of this can be overwhelming, especially for the children. Chai supports children as young as 2 years old, focusing on music, play and art therapies.
Extending this area of support, the “Chai in Schools” initiative has been designed to give teaching staff the advice and strategies to further their understanding of what the child may be experiencing. With family consent, Chai will act as a central point of contact, liaising between the school and the family to co-ordinate all the support needs of the child.
As we look into the future, the words that echo in our ears and which continue to drive us forward are those of a client who said to us, “You cannot rest until Chai becomes the first port of call, and not the last resort.”
And in our co-founders, we have no better example of what can be achieved with determination, commitment and dedication.
For more information on our full range of services please call 020 8202 2211 or our Freephone Helpline on 0808 808 4567 or visit www.chaicancercare.org