THE Marie Curie Cancer Care charity is best known for its network of 2,000 Marie Curie Nurses working in the community to provide end-of-life care, totally free for patients in their own homes.
Last year they cared for more than 31,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in their nine hospices.
They mainly care for people with cancer but also care for people with other life-limiting illnesses such as dementia, Motor Neurone Disease and heart failure.
While four in five (79 per cent) of the UK population are aware of Marie Curie Cancer Care, a survey commissioned by the charity last year revealed the same percentage doesn't know if there is a Marie Curie Nursing Service available to them locally.
Few also know how to access the service - just under half (48 percent) responded 'don't know' when asked how they would go about getting a Marie Curie Nurse.
To access a Marie Curie Nurse, patients and/or their carers should speak to their GP or District Nurse.
Marie Curie Hospices
Marie Curie has nine hospices. It is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS. Marie Curie Hospices provide care for patients with cancer and other illnesses and provide support for families and carers, all completely free of charge.
Around 70 per cent of the charity's income comes from the generous
support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and
businesses, with the balance of their funds coming from the NHS. They spend
more than £83 million a year on care and research activities. For every £1
the charity receives, 70p is spent directly on providing end of life care
and research, 22p is invested to generate future funds and 8p is spent on
support, governance and raising awareness.
Their services are always free of charge to patients and their families, which means that they
need to raise more than £127 million each year.
Marie Curie's pioneering programme of palliative care research is showing how they can better care for cancer patients. The charity has two centres for palliative care research, The Marie Curie Palliative Care Unit in London and The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool. It also funds seven fundamental scientific research groups which investigate the causes and treatments of cancer.
Following Marie Curie Cancer Care's decision to change the emphasis of its research activity away from cancer cure and prevention, the charity has invested an additional £1million into a new fund for end of life care research across the UK.
This is part of a collaboration with Cancer Research UK which will provide expert advice on applications, grant funding and the peer review process.
Supporting the Choice to Die at Home Research shows around 65 per cent of people would like to die at home if they had a terminal illness, with a sizeable minority opting for hospice care.
However, more than 50 per cent of cancer deaths still occur in hospital, the place people say they would least like to be. Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die at home.
Gail Porter, and Duncan Goodhew held their breath in an underwater photo shoot to launch Swimathon 2011.
Lisburn challenged to make a splash at Swimathon
LISBURN people are being encouraged to make a splash at Swimathon 2011.
The annual charity fundraiser is set to hit a record 580 pools across the UK - including Lisburn -between 8-10 April, when 22,000 swimmers of all ages and abilities will come together to raise more than £2 million for charity.
Gail Porter, who is a keen swimmer, said: "The challenge is ideal motivation for everyone to pull on their swimsuits, get in the pool and enjoy a much-needed New Year health boost. I find swimming a great way to keep fit, especially as it's an activity I enjoy with my child. "What's more - the money raised will help Marie Curie Cancer Care to provide free nursing care to terminally ill people. I know what a difference this care can make as both my mum and my grandmother died from cancer and received care at home from a Marie Curie Nurse.
"Caring for a loved one at the end of their life is never going to be an easy time for families but it was made much more bearable for us by the skill and care of these amazing nurses."
Phil Kane, Community Fundraiser in Lisburn, said: "Every year people
across Lisburn take on the Swimathon challenge and have a great time raising
funds and getting fit along the way. You can even choose to take part
individually or as part of a team. This year we hope even more people will
take the plunge and raise funds to heIp Marie Curie Nurses
provide more free nursing care to people with terminal cancer and other illnesses in their own homes."
Swimathon President Duncan Goodhew commented: "We are approaching a quarter of a century of Swimathons and I'm delighted to report that last year's event enjoyed an astonishing 38 per cent rise in swimmers. And what's really exciting is that around 2,500 of those who dived in told us that they only started swimming again because they entered the event."
Early birds will enjoy half price registration fees before January 31, 2011. People can choose from 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k challenges and entries to Swimathon 2011 are open until April 7. Either go online to www.swimathon.org or call 0845 36 700 36.