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Care for Cancer founder awarded MBE

Care for Cancer founder awarded MBE

The founding member of the leading local cancer charity, Care for Cancer, has this week spoken of her delight at being bestowed a member of the British Empire (MBE) Award.

There has been wide spread joy locally since it emerged yesterday, (Tuesday) that Joan Hamilton – who established Omagh-based Care for Cancer in 1989 to help those affected by the disease – is to be awarded the prestigious accolade in recognition for her services to cancer suffers as well as the growth of the charity over more than two decades.
In a poignant move, the award notification came just two days after the organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special dinner at the Silverbirch hotel in Omagh.

Based in the Campsie area of the town, Joan set up Care for Cancer after feeling ‘isolated’ and ‘frustrated’ by the lack of services locally for those affected by cancer, following the death of her husband, Harold, to bowel cancer in 1987, at the young age of 39.
Since its inception the charity – which began its humble beginnings as a telephone helpline service – has been at the forefront of providing care and support for those affected by cancer, as well as their families and loved ones.

The innovative, bright and welcoming centre in the Campsie area of the town and its staff provide a wide ranging number of vital services within the local area for those affected by cancer as well as their families and loved ones, which include transport for patients to hospital appointments, complimentary therapies for patients and carers, the loan of recliner chairs to terminally ill patients and the running of self-help groups and courses such as yoga and art therapy.

Fundraising drives take place on a continuous level, with all money raised going back into the local charity to help the people of the area Speaking to the Tyrone constitution yesterday (Tuesday) a, a delighted Joan said she was “overwhelmed” by the news and “hasn’t been able to sleep with excitement” since.”I got a letter in the post about it on Monday and I didn’t sleep all that night with excitement. I’m just so thrilled and delighted and poignantly, it has come as care for cancer has celebrated its 25th year. It’s lovely and such a privilege to be recognised for such work and service.” continuing, Joan said the accolade was also an overarching recognition of the invaluable work done and support provided by the Omagh-based cancer charity.

She said “it’s a privilege for both myself and for the entire community and I’d like to accept the honour on behalf of everyone who helped me, and of course this is really an honour also in recognition of all the people care for cancer has helped over the years since its inception.”

The most recent celebration comes just two weeks after the grandmother welcomed her third grandchild, Luke, into the world two weeks ago. Describing her family’s pride on hearing the news,

Joan added: “my family and friends are absolutely delighted for both myself and the organisation, care for cancer started little by little, however, a lot of lives have been touched and this award is also a nice time to remember those who have passed away.”

Although it is not sure yet when the local woman will be presented with her award, there will undoubtedly be plenty of celebrations in the coming days and weeks as tributes and messages of support are sure to flow in in praise of the selfless work of the local woman and the vital charity.

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