Specialist nurses at East Surrey Hospital organise an event to help care for the carers

Two specialist nurses at Redhill's East Surrey Hospital are organising an event which they hope will offer care to carers.

Chris Turner and Liz Darragh, breast care clinical nurse specialists at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, are arranging a gathering next week to provide information and support to carers, as well as to give them a chance to meet and talk to other people in a similar position.

The event on Tuesday, June 10, is being held as part of national Carers Week.

People from a number of organisations will be at the meeting at the East Surrey, including The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, Crossroads, East Surrey Carers Support Association and Carers Support West Sussex.

Hookwood couple David and Joan Mace are among those who will be supporting the event.

They hope it will provide people with an opportunity to hear what others have been through and to share their experiences. David said: “I never thought of myself as a carer. I am a husband who just wanted to look after his wife.” He described it as the worst day of his life when his wife Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

Joan said: “If I had a bad day or didn’t feel well, it was David who had to deal with everything and take it all onboard. “He has been there for me 24-hours a day. Carers just care without thinking about it. They just get on with it.” Chris said: “These people are unsung heroes. “They don’t see themselves as a carer - they see it as simply looking after their loved ones, and this event is about recognising the care and support they give. “We can see the physical and emotional drain it has on people and we want to show them the help that is out there.”

Chris continued: “When someone becomes ill and needs to be looked after, the whole family can feel the effect. “There are lots of organisations coming who can provide help - some who focus on emotional and psychological support, others on the practical side. Someone to do your shopping or walk the dog.” She said carers may be family, friends, parents or partners caring for someone with additional needs, an illness, frailty, disability or a drug or alcohol problem.

Liz added: “Many carers are looking after someone affected by cancer, but this event is open to all carers. “We hope it will be really helpful to meet people who might be at different stages in their treatment and recovery, and who can share their experiences.”

For more information visit the trust's website at: www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk

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