Search

Charity offers shining beacon of hope for adult cancer sufferers with no-one to turn to

08:00 12 July 2014

Leukaemia sufferer Chris Riley, chairman of The Miltons Residents Association, talks about his work with cancer charity Shine. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Leukaemia sufferer Chris Riley, chairman of The Miltons Residents Association, talks about his work with cancer charity Shine. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Too old to rely on parents, too young to join the countless support groups for elderly patients – who is there to turn to when you are diagnosed with cancer in your 20s, 30s or 40s?

This was the question Chris Riley, of Milton Avenue, Highgate, asked when he received the devastating news that he had leukaemia just weeks after celebrating his 40th birthday.

Feeling isolated, Mr Riley turned to the national charity, Shine Cancer Support, shortly after the network for adults was founded in 2008.

He is now co-chairman of the charity’s London branch and wants to reach out to anyone who feels hit by loneliness.

“It’s difficult because you’re young and your parents find it particularly hard – the idea of their child dying before them,” Mr Riley, now 45, said.

“I also found that a lot of your friends abandon you for many different reasons. People don’t want to face mortality at that age and people don’t know how to deal with it.”

He added: “I needed more support, and that’s why I went to Shine. It was quite frustrating, because you want to talk about it, not all the time, but you need to let it out.”

The support group gets together once a month but its meetings are far removed from the stereotypical image of people sitting in a circle in a church hall revealing the stories behind their illnesses. Instead members go for dinner, to a bar, or go bowling, as anyone else in the same age range would do.

For the first time this year, all the charity’s support network groups flocked to Bournemouth in January for a weekend of relaxing by the seaside.

“The group has taken all the mental pressure off the illness,” said Mr Riley, who is also chairman of The Miltons Residents’ Association in Highgate. “Being involved has really built my confidence, and I’ve made some really good friends who probably will be friends for life.”

It has been five years since Mr Riley was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a disease that progresses very slowly and can be kept under control with treatment for many years.

It is rare for people under 40 to contract the illness and about 75 per cent of sufferers are diagnosed after they reach 60.

“Right on my 40th birthday I had a letter from the hospital,” Mr Riley said. “I wasn’t diagnosed but I knew something was wrong and the hospital was being very cagey about it.

“It seems strange but the support group normalises it. You feel isolated, so when you meet other people you realise it’s not the end of the world.”

n To join email london@shinecancersupport.org.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 14:06
Yasmin Farah

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find two sixteen-year-old girls who have gone missing from Camden.

Yesterday, 09:07
Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James

Carers of adults with demential and disabilities are demanding change after a report revealed there is a “breakdown of trust” on the Haringey boards designed to represent them.

Thu, 17:14
Nina Martynchyk with her foster mother, Nina B

A young woman who overcame anorexia is organising a conference with the Royal Free Hospital to draw attention to how the condition affects children and teenagers

Thu, 16:01
Highgate School

Students and staff at Highgate school were reflecting on a very impressive set of GCSE results today, with 88.2 percent of exams receiving a grade of A* or A.

Thu, 12:41
Hampstead School is in Westbere Road (Pic credit: Google streetview)

The Hampstead School has once again seen its GCSE results improve today, with nearly a quarter of all grades receiving an A* or A grade.

Thu, 11:53
Hornsey School for Girls

Girls at Hornsey School for Girls were today collecting some stellar GCSE results.

Thu, 11:44
Sam White has praised William Ellis pupils

The headteacher of William Ellis school, Sam White, was full of praise for his students today after a promising set of GCSE results.

Thu, 10:56
UCS school

University College School was today celebrating the second best set of GCSE results in its history, with a remarkable 88.6 percent of exams achieving either an A* or A grade.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now