Enniskillen Cancer Group, SWELL which stands for Supported We Live Life is helping to bring vital services and support to local people undergoing a cancer diagnosis.
The organisation was set up by founders and cancer survivors Genevieve Irvine and Lorraine Lily in 2018.
In October 2021 the group secured a permanent premises in Enniskillen where people are able to join support groups, avail of counselling and take part in regular activities.
Genevieve explained the reasons why she wanted to set up the group.
“I was diagnosed in 2015 and once I left Belfast and finished my treatment I found that aftercare support services were just not there in Fermanagh,” she said.
“All I wanted to do was speak to another cancer patient, it just wasn’t there so I decided to start up a group.”
“In the group people are able to come in and get involved in the activities and complimentary therapies and its a space to talk about anything because sometimes when you get a diagnosis you can’t really talk to family due to fear and you want to protect them whereas this is a safe space where you can just let go.”
In the organisation there are cancer support groups including a support group specifically for men who have cancer which originally started off as a separate prostate cancer support group in Fermanagh New Horizons.
Paddy Gilgunn, founding member of the original group said, “Genevieve approached us in the men’s centre and she asked If we would like to join SWELL as she was aware that men might not feel comfortable about talking about prostate cancer in a mixed group setting.”
The men in the group spoke about how being able to talk to other cancer patients has had an extremely positive impact on their lives.
Brendan Farry said, “I have found the group to be very beneficial for me, it is great to talk to others who are maybe going through the same thing that I am are going through and you feel as if you are not alone.”
“I just feel comfortable in here,” said P.J Sheehan. “I feel I can talk about my illness if I want to, if I don’t, I don’t have to, I can have a chat with anyone on a one to one basis or in a group setting.”
The group meets every Friday morning from 10.30 to 12pm.
Other services that SWELL offers includes a free transport service for clients and a palliative home care service which provides complimentary therapies for people who are terminally ill and can not leave home.
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