27 November 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Supporting Cork’s cancer patients through the Covid-19 pandemic this Christmas
While 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, some have been impacted by Covid-19 much more than others. For the thousands of people across Cork who are currently going through a cancer journey, the ongoing pandemic has made this journey even more challenging than usual.
This Christmas, the Mercy University Hospital Foundation is calling on the people of Cork to support its Christmas Appeal which is raising funds to provide a Psycho-Oncology service for cancer patients at the Mercy University Hospital.
With over a third of all cancer patients experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of their diagnosis, this vital service has been providing specialised psychological sessions to help these patients cope with this difficult time in their lives.
Dr. Tara Houlihan, Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Mercy Hospital sees, first-hand, every day how much of a difference a service like this can make. “Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be very distressing for both the individual and their families. Patients tell us they feel shock, anger, worry, sadness and uncertainty. We know that most adults with cancer and their families adapt and cope with such difficult challenges over time, but some may find that their emotions become difficult to manage and might affect their daily lives. As cancer may increase the risk should an individual develop Covid-19, patients are experiencing heightened distress and there has been a need to provide even more psychological support.”
Cancer patients are currently among some of the most vulnerable in society. With many of them “cocooning” since March, the range of emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis have been massively intensified. This has put greater demand on the Mercy’s Psycho-Oncology service, with more patients requiring psychological and emotional support.
This Christmas will be difficult for most people, but it will be particularly challenging for those with cancer. All funds raised through the Mercy Christmas Appeal will ensure that these patients can receive the support they need during this difficult time. With the psycho-oncology service due to expand in January 2021, donations to the Appeal will help to make a real difference in the lives of those living with cancer in Cork.
Speaking about the importance of the psycho-oncology service, Mícheál Sheridan, CEO of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation said “Worrying about our health and that of our loved ones, feeling anxious and unsure about the future – these are feelings we have all had at some point throughout the pandemic. For cancer patients, they face these feelings every day. Our Psycho-Oncology service, which is 100% funded through the generosity of the general public, has been helping cancer patients deal with these emotions and is supporting their mental health needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this service even more important. With the support of the people of Cork, this Christmas, we can expand the service in 2021 to reach even more patients and help them and their loved ones through their cancer journey.”
Donations to the Mercy Christmas Appeal can be made online at www.mercyfundraising.ie or over the phone on 021 4274076.