A SUPPORT group which has proved a lifeline to those battling a form of cancer could face closure unless more people start using its services.

The Lymphoma Action support group was launched in Whitehaven last year to help people across west Cumbria who are suffering with blood cancer.

Until then, there had been no local support groups for people affected by the disease, despite the busy haematology department at West Cumberland Hospital.

The group hosts regular speakers and provides the opportunity to talk with others in similar circumstances. But it could now fold unless more people get involved.

Ros Dickinson, of Workington, who has lymphoma, facilitates the group. She said: “It’s two years since I got my diagnosis. It’s a very scary thing. My family have been fabulous and I couldn’t have done it without them but I have found it very useful to talk to people in a similar situation.

“Talking to someone who knows how you feel can be very useful. Sometimes it’s good to talk away from family and friends because you don’t want to burden them. The cancer journey can be quite scary.”

Ros said there were only three people at the last meeting which was “very disappointing”. She is urging anyone affected by the disease to attend.

“If we don’t build the numbers up, unfortunately it won’t be sustainable,” she added.

Julie Kennedy, clinical nurse specialist at West Cumberland Hospital, helped set up the group with Karen Bonell from the Lymphoma Action charity.

Julie said: “When I started my role as haematology nurse six years ago I was aware of the support group in Carlisle, however the travel put many off attending.

“My aim was to set up a group in our area and with the support from Karen, the lymphoma action group started running.

“There have been posters up in the haematology clinic held within the Henderson suite at West Cumberland Hospital but the uptake has been quite slow.

“This group is there to support both patients and their family or carers. The support you can receive from others undergoing similar experiences can make the cancer journey easier to manage. If the numbers don’t increase we feel we may have to fold the group. This would be a shame.

“We are hoping the group will grow. It is the only blood cancer support group in west Cumbria and if more people don’t access the resource, we are in danger of closing.”

The group is held at Bransty British Legion on the third Tuesday of alternate months from 2pm to 3.30pm. The next meeting is on May 21. For more information, call 07710 393891 or go to: https://lymphoma-action.org.uk/events/whitehaven-support-group.