Founded by complementary therapists Mandy Barter and Liz Lee and officially launched at the Forbury Hotel in Reading in 2015, to date the charity has provided over 5,500 complementary therapy treatments and over 50 courses in Tai Chi, Mindfulness and Yoga.
We have adapted during the pandemic setting up a virtual service, to ensure we continue to support people living with cancer across Berkshire.
Read the amazing journey of the charity so far and personal stories from people who have used the service and have supported us along the way:
Lets start at the very beginning; an idea in 2013 that grew and grew… A passion to make a difference and to make complementary therapies accessible to everyone with a diagnosis of cancer right at the very start of their journey and to complement their conventional treatment. A holistic approach dealing with mind, body and spirit.
Registering as a charity in June 2015 – We were incredibly lucky to have the breadth of experience and expertise from our trustees to guide and shape the charity to what it has become. We had the support from the NHS Berkshire Cancer Centre to deliver this service to people with cancer. We started with 9 therapists and 4 Meeter Greeters delivering Acupuncture, Reflexology and Massage at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Bracknell Healthspace in July 2015.
In 2017 we employed a part time Operations Manager Victoria. For the 2 years previously our charity ran completely on volunteers. Employing Victoria moved our systems and processes forward and we became more effective and efficient allowing us to grow and help more people. Our charity is still predominately volunteers giving over 400 volunteer hours per month.
2018 and onwards saw our fundraising team excel in running events such as the Carol Kirkwood evening, a fashion show with John Lewis in 2019 and a Gala evening with Philip Voke Interiors in 2020. This has really engaged our local community and showed the tremendous support we get from them and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes raising money for us to deliver our service.
2020 saw all face to face treatments suspended due to COVID-19 and we responded with an online service still offering support to people with cancer. We have had to re-train all our volunteers and set up a system of processes enabling us to deliver this all within 6 weeks. I could not be more proud of the MCMC team.
“When we celebrated our 5th birthday in July 2020 I see how far we have come. We have supported 1200 people and delivered over 4,500 treatment all with volunteers. This year has given us an opportunity to deliver a virtual as well as hands on treatment and this combination will inevitably reach help more people. We have this year, lost 2 wonderful trustees to cancer. Their dedication to our charity makes us even more determined to help others who are going through a cancer diagnosis. I would like to thank our wonderful team, our Trustees, fundraising team, our 2 members of staff and all our fabulous volunteers for the last 5 years and we look forward to the next 5! ”
Mandy Barter, CEO and CO-Founder
I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in June 2018 and had Robotic Prostatectomy in August 2018. After the surgery I had a few complications where I had NHS treatment.
When I was at this NHS facility one of the nurses had mentioned MY CANCER MY CHOICES as a good place where I can get support to recover from my surgery and also to put my worries at ease.
I was initially skeptical as I was told the services are free, but when I called the offices to enquire about their services, the staff were soo welcoming and did their best to explain everything to me.
“My name is Sev.
On the 10th of July 2020, my oncologist confirmed that treatment has been a success. It has been a long 18 months journey since my breast cancer diagnosis– neoadjuvant chemo, mastectomy, corrective surgery, radiotherapy and 15 rounds of targeted therapy drug”.
It was during an appointment for the latter that I was first introduced to My Cancer My Choices.
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with My Cancer My Choices for many years and have referred many patients to them.”
They have been a vital part of my patient’s recovery and make a huge difference to people’s anxiety and stress levels and they can also help with certain side effects of treatment.
“A year before My Cancer My Choices was launched, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I started to come out of my ‘fog’, a colleague mentioned that a Mindfulness Course was being run by MCMC.”
I applied to take part and at my initial interview to see if I was a suitable candidate, I realised that I was very angry about my cancer and lymphoedema”.
Fortunately, I was accepted on the course.
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