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Freddie’s Friends is the support group run by YouCan and the staff from Charles Dickens Wardin Maidstone Hospital.
Freddie’s Friends was started by Hayley Martin, a young mum receiving palliative treatment for colon cancer, in January 2015. Her little boy is called Freddie and the group is named after him.
Hayley said “I started this support group so that other people like me who have been diagnosed with cancer have somewhere to come when they want to talk to other people in a similar situation. It is also really hard for our family and friends seeing loved ones going through cancer treatment. Freddie’s Friends can provide a comforting, relaxed environment to be able to speak openly about any worries, share tips, experiences and to generally feel that you are not alone.”
Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Hayley but her group is still going strong all these years later.
I started going to Freddie’s Friends in January 2017. I had just had my first chemo treatment earlier in the month and one of the nurses mentioned it to me. Straight off the bat, I knew this was something I wanted to be involved in because everyone was so welcoming and helpful. The monthly meetings at held at Kits Coty, Aylesford, in the function room, so I knew anything I wanted to talk about was being said in a safe place. Also, they provide free soft drinks and cheesy chips – bonus!
Since then I’ve been to many of the Freddie’s Friends meet ups, treatment permitting. We’ve done reiki, yoga, had talks from a nutritionist, had a meal in town, an introduction to boot camp and a look good feel better workshop. So as you can see, it’s very varied! But there is always time to meet other young people in a similar situation, and this is invaluable. Group sizes range from 6, to 16, to 26, so there is plenty of room for all! Feel free to bring a family member or friend too, the group is to support them too.
And don’t just take my word for it! Here are some testimonials from people who attend Freddie’s Friends:
Kerry Ann, 32: Breast Cancer
“I cannot express how much Freddie’s Friends have made a difference to me going through my treatment for breast cancer. This support group has helped me feel like I’m not alone. I will continue to go after my treatment has finished.”
Tom, 23: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
“Since the first meeting we had for Freddie’s Friends it has been such a personal boost to meet such friendly, positive and supportive people in a similar situation to mine. Being able to relate to each other’s experiences in invaluable in a way I never fully expected.”
Caroline, 24: Brain Tumour
“It’s lovely to find a support group that has enabled me to build friendships in my local area. It’s a very welcoming group which has helped with my confidence and social skills.”
Katie, 23: Caroline’s Friend
“I go to Freddie’s Friends support group as a support for my friend. It is so great to finally find a group which helps people who are at different stages in their cancer and also welcomes family and friends too.”
Laura, 32: Bowel Cancer
“Freddie’s Friends is really important to me as it provides me with help and support without which I would not have made it through my treatment and been able to return to work. The support group is amazing as it has allowed me to talk about and accept what I have been through when I needed to do this however it has also helped me escape from it all as well by organising events that have totally taken my mind off of everything and allowed me to have fun which is something that I never imagined could happen whilst going through treatment. I would have been really lost without the support of the Freddie’s Friends group and the friends that I have made from this group.”
If you would like to come along, Freddie’s Friends is held every third Wednesday of the month at Kits Coty, Aylesford, ME20 7EZ from 7pm – 9pm.
Please contact YouCan and come along!
Tel: 01732 844874 Email: hello@you‑can.org.uk
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