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Living with and Beyond Cancer

conference 1

To watch a short video from the event please follow this link to the Trust's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/uqbM225d9is

Over 300 people whose lives have been affected by different types of blood conditions or blood cancers came together for a patient conference in Durham in November.

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The conference, entitled 'Living With and Beyond Cancer' was organised by a network of haematology clinical nurse specialists from NHS organisations across the North East. It included workshops with leading consultants from the Cancer field as well as inspirational guest speakers.

The guest speakers included Angela Knowles - formally Angela Baker - whose late husband, John's battle against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma inspired her and 10 friends from the Rylstone Women's Institute to shatter the stereotypes of "Jam and Jerusalem" with a risque charity calendar for the year 2000, and which went on to be made into the film Calendar Girls - and ex-Sunderland football captain Kevin Ball.

Fiona Strong, Haematology Specialist Nurse, is the Chair of the clinical nurse specialist network organising committee behind the event. She said: ""As a network of haematology nurses, we strive to provide the best care and support for our patients and loved ones.  This conference came about eight years ago with a donation from the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund and because it was so successful, we decided to organise one every 2 years.

"As a group, we have been extremely lucky in acquiring the renowned clinical speakers and the patients who give up their time to come and speak to our conference. Without the generosity of some charities, NHS Trusts, Celebrity Speakers and patients/loved ones, this event would not be as successful.

"I would like to thank all the patients/loved ones who will attending the event at what is a difficult time in their lives and hope that they are able to take something from it."

The conference was held at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham. The day-long event will begin with keynote speaker Professor Graham Jackson. Prof Jackson works in Haematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is a Professor of Clinical Haematology at Newcastle University. He is also the President of the British Society of Haematology.

This was followed by a motivational talk from ex-footballer Kevin Ball about his life as a footballer. Patients then took part in group sessions where they had the opportunity to hear from leading consultant and clinical staff and patients about their conditions with a focus on survivorship and how to live with their conditions. The day closed with a talk from original Calendar Girl Angela Knowles.

Deborah Grimes, Haematology Clinical Nurse Specialist at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is one of the organisers of the conference and also led one of the break-out sessions around 'living well'. Deborah said: "We are hoping through the event that patients will meet others having similar experiences and find support networks with each other which we know from experience can be very powerful and really can't be underestimated. Through the workshops there will be an opportunity for patients to learn about new treatments and developments for the future. We will be looking at symptom management and how to live with haematological conditions - what it means to be a survivor. We really expect it to be an inspirational event and hope that patients will take a lot away from it."

Peter Green and Pamela Page are both living with forms of Cancer and spoke at the conference.

To watch a short video from the event please follow this link to the Trust's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/uqbM225d9is

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham