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Local Cancer Patients Enjoy “Walk and Talk” Group

Newsdate: 12 February 2016Macmillan Walk and Talk Group

A new service provided by Macmillan Information and Support, with help from Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, is proving to be a real hit with patients. The “Walk and Talk” group meets every Thursday at Mesnes Park, Wigan, at 1pm to provide them with an opportunity to enjoy some exercise, have a relaxing drink and socialise, making new friends.

Meeting at the main gates, next to the lodge in the park, a warm and friendly welcome is ensured to visitors to the group. Patients have a pleasant walk around the park and then enjoy conversation as they meet for tea and coffee after. 

The events are organised by the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, which is available in the Cancer Care Centre, at WWL’s Wigan Infirmary site. The first “Walk and Talk” group was held on Thursday 14 January. 

Macmillan decided to establish this new group in response to inquiries being made by visitors to the centre. Patients wanted to know about what support groups were available and, also, how to remain physically active whilst they were undergoing treatment for cancer.

There is considerable evidence that remaining active can have a tremendous impact on your general health, by strengthening muscle joints and bones. However, exercise is also known to have a hugely positive influence on a person’s emotional wellbeing.

With this in mind, Macmillan established the “Walk and Talk” group, believing it would be an enjoyable way for patients to maintain their social life, and be physically active at the same time. In addition, the group would provide emotional support to those with Cancer, granting them much-needed comfort during a very difficult time in their lives.

To support their efforts, Walk Leader training was given to organisers by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles. The course reinforced the idea that exercise can have a positive impact on a person’s life, but it also educated organisers as to how to overcome any potential risks and scenarios they may encounter whilst walking with patients. In addition, Tracy Morris, a Walk Leader from Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, regularly joins the group to support, and takes part in other walking initiatives.

Tracy is unequivocal in her belief that the walks are a good thing. She says, “Our walks are ideal for people who want to improve their health and wellbeing. The great advantage to our walking groups is the social aspect. It’s a chance to meet new people and a free activity that most people can do.”

Mariesha Underwood, Macmillan Cancer Support Advisor, is hugely enthused by the progress of the group so far and would encourage others to get involved.

“We promised a warm welcome and an enjoyable experience. Our group meets each Thursday at Mesnes Park at 1pm and consists of a walk around the park and ends with a coffee and the opportunity to share practical and emotional support, information and encouragement, with other people affected by cancer.

“Anyone interested in joining the group, or who knows someone who might be, please contact the Macmillan Information and Support service on 01942 822760 or 01942 774620.”

The group will next meet on Thursday 25 February at 1pm, outside the Lodge at Mesnes Park. Anyone wishing to contact Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles should call: 01942 488481.