Diss cancer support group to meet at bigger venue

Diss, Norfolk. Jay Hurley (Centre) with Keith Hurley and Maggie Mittins-Ladd who've set-up a support group for local cancer sufferers called Art of Life
Diss, Norfolk. Jay Hurley (Centre) with Keith Hurley and Maggie Mittins-Ladd who've set-up a support group for local cancer sufferers called Art of Life

The Art Of Life, a voluntary-led support group which helps people living in and around Diss whose lives are affected by cancer, will be meeting at a new venue next month.

The group was launched in November by secondary cancer survivor Jay Hurley, who is in remission from kidney cancer.

Meetings were being held at the Angel Cafe at Fair Green, Diss, but due to popular demand, the next meeting on February 5 will be held at Roydon Village Hall at 1.30pm.

Mrs Hurley said: “We’ve been astounded at the support we’ve had from local people. Each of our monthly meetings sees in excess of 12 or more people living with cancer and their caregivers coming along to express exactly how they feel about their cancer through art therapy. They can also find peace through our Chi Kung sessions, which is a very gentle form of meditative exercise.”

The group was set up with funding help from Macmillan Cancer Support, The Big C and South Norfolk Council along with personal donations from people who attend the group.

Mrs Hurley, added: “We are about helping people to tell their story through art as a medium when words often fail. No artistic skills are necessary. Just a willingness explore your emotions in a different way.”

Creative director, Maggie Mittins-Ladd, a practitioner of spiritual healing, said: “A bigger space means that we are able to zone off the hall to provide quiet areas for people just wishing to drop in for a coffee and browse our information library along with art areas and a space for those wanting to experience how the gentle exercise, meditation and visualisation can help heal.”

Secretary of the group, Lin Smith, said being involved with The Art Of Life helped her to deal with the grief of losing her mum to lung cancer.

She said: “At that time I really needed to find support in my local community but found there was none.

“Many support groups are for people with a specific type of cancer so I think it’s great that The Art Of Life welcomes people with all types of cancer. I’d like to think that my story will encourage other caregivers to come along and let their hands do the talking when words fail.”

The group meets monthly on the first Tuesday of each month from 1.30pm until 4pm but plans are afoot to offer evening sessions for people with daytime commitments.

The group is also appealing for two new people to join the existing management committee of four to help steer the group to new opportunities.

For more information about the group or to become a part of the committee, call Mrs Hurley on 07786833916, email the_art_of_life@rocketmail.com or visit www.theartoflife.org.uk