Big thank you from

Karen Clarke

Karen Clarke, of Action Cancer

Karen Clarke, of Action Cancer

KAREN Clarke, 52, works with Action Cancer delivering programmes such as the listening Ear and Positive living Programme. The programmes aims are to support anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis. The charity will hold positive living programmes on January 21 and 22 in Belfast. The programme is open to anyone effected by cancer and importantly after cancer.

Karen's background is in counselling and training and she has extensive experience as a life coach.

Every day is different in my job. I could be in the office working on developing new programmes or out and about training volunteers or actually delivering the programmes. The Listening Ear Service (LES) is designed to offer support and signposting iii an informal setting on a face-to-face basis, as and when its needed. The service is available to anyone diagnosed with cancer and their family, close friends or carers. Dealing with cancer is difficult on its own but it also impacts on many other areas of your life and it can be difficult to know what help is available and where. LES offers signposting to other local services to help with issues such as childcare, financial assistance and transport issues among 4 many others. When dealing with cancer people can try to bottle their emotions and 'be strong' which can increase stress and anxiety Often people need to talk about their worries and emotions, but they don't feel counselling is appropriate.

The Listening Ear Service offers a safe place where people can talk about their situation with someone who isn't emotionally involved. Often this is a one-off appointment to help people move forward and enhance their quality of life. I enjoy listening to people and trying to advise and guide them.

Me and my colleagues offer a confidential service run by highly trained volunteers who have undergone a strict recruitment procedure and an accredited training programme. There really is some wonderful people involved - they are wonderful and really good at just helping deliver the programmes and this makes all the difference to someone who has cancer. I am also involved with the Positive Living Programme which I is special m that it is using Life Coaching, Counselling and Complimentary Therapy to help whose living with and after cancer, moving the focus from cancer
to the person, giving coping strategies that offer emotional support. This uses all my skills and is something I really enjoy doing.

There is a world of issues that can arise following a cancer diagnosis and this programme aims to move the focus from cancer as an acute illness to a greater focus on recovery, health and emotional wellbeing The programme is delivered over a weekend allowing people to reflect on you the person not the label so that you feel empowered to move on. This will provide insight and support with changes in relationships, family, self esteem, confidence and well being through Life Coaching, Counselling and Complementary Therapy. With 40,000 people living with cancer at any one stage in Northern Ireland there is often many unanswered questions and emotions that people can end up dealing with on their own. Trying to get people to focus on living instead of focusing on cancer is a big part of my role. Some days I finish at 5pm and others I will be working in the evening so it is important that I am flexible. I really enjoy my work. When the day goes well it all feels worthwhile. I have delivered many courses throughout my career but the ones for Action Cancer are special as they really do make a difference.

For more information contact 90803355 or visit

Ulster Star