A WOMAN who lost both parents to cancer within just 10 months has nominated the centre that helped her through the experience for an award.
Kate Ibbeson, aged 41, from Walkley, Sheffield, put forward Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre for a Caring for Carers Award, given by the Sheffield Carers’ Centre to outstanding organisations.
Kate’s father Barry, from Rotherham, was diagnosed with cancer of the ureter in 2006 and underwent surgery at Rotherham General Hospital and treatment at Weston Park Hospital.
Despite doctors’ efforts Barry tragically passed away in June 2009 at the age of 68.
Shortly after his death, Kate’s mother, Ann, became ill and tests revealed she had cancer of the oesophagus. She died in May 2010 on her 69th birthday, less than a year after Barry’s death.
During her parents’ treatment, and after their deaths, Kate received extensive support from the cancer information and support centre, which is part-funded by Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
The centre provides information and guidance for cancer patients and their families on issues including how to cope with stress and anxiety after a cancer diagnosis, how to care for yourself as a carer, and understanding grief.
Kate, a self-employed project manager, said: “When both my parents were diagnosed I knew I had to keep going as I wanted to do the best for them.
“Losing a parent is life-changing, but to lose both, and in such a short space of time, was something else.”
Kate attended a five-week carers’ course and later a bereavement course, and also regularly dropped in for an informal chat to share her thoughts and anxieties.
Kate, who lives with her husband Roger, said: “What was great about the courses is that they have since held several events which has strengthened the support network available and allowed us to get together to share our experiences in a more informal environment.”
Celia Robinson, chief executive of Sheffield Carers’ Centre, said: “Professionals are often so focused on the welfare of the person who is ill or disabled, that they forget the unpaid family carer.”
For more information visit www.cancersupportcentre.co.uk or call 0114 226 5391.