Poignant moment for Omagh woman as cancer centre opens

Tara Boyle, Macmillan Health and Wellbeing campus manager; Niall Birthistle, chairman, Western Health and Social Care Trust; Paula Kealey, Macmillan strategic partnership manager and actor, Adrian Dunbar who all spoke at the official opening.

AN Omagh woman who helped develop the new Health and Wellbeing campus at Altnagelvin Hospital has explained how her job took a poignant twist when she was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before the centre was due to open. 
Tara Boyle is the Macmillan Health and Wellbeing campus manager. She has managed the development of the campus from the beginning of the project, and was present at the official opening of the facility last week. 
Speaking about her unique experience Tara explained, “I was diagnosed with cancer last summer, just weeks before the Health and Wellbeing Campus was due to open.
“While I have always felt privileged to work on a project like the campus, I feel that I developed an even greater sense of perspective.
“I was lucky that, because of my job, I knew a lot about the information and support available to me, but even so, it was still a very challenging time for me, my family and my friends. 
“Many people find dealing with a cancer diagnosis very confusing and isolating.
“It made me realise just how important it is to have this campus locally, where there is a wide range of services to support people’s holistic needs.
“It’s important for people to know that there is somewhere to go, someone to listen and lots of support to help people deal with their questions and concerns.
“I’ve been back to work since last October and I’m delighted to see how much of an impact and difference the campus is already making.”
The campus was officially opened in recent days by Enniskillen actor, writer and director, Adrian Dunbar.
Adrian said, ‘Having lived away from Northern Ireland for many years, it’s a very positive experience for me to travel home and see developments like this campus at Altnagelvin.
“I’ve had the privilege of talking with many people from the local area, some of whom are living with cancer and accessing services on the campus, as well as staff and volunteers.
“I heard from the Macmillan team that almost one in two of us will face cancer in our lifetime – that’s a staggering statistic.
“It’s so important for people to have the right support at what can be a life-changing time.’
The campus incorporates a state-of-the-art Macmillan Support Centre and the recently refurbished Agnes Jones House.  
It supports people affected by cancer and other long-term conditions in the Western Trust, as well as people from the south and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust who are attending the North-west Cancer Centre for treatment.  
Services include information and signposting to local services, counselling, hairdressing and wig service, breast prosthesis fitting, complementary therapies, gentle exercise and welfare advice.

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