AS coronavirus makes people with cancer feel isolated and anxious, Glasgow Life is offering telephone support for those affected across the city.

Delivered by the team behind the innovative cancer support programme, Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries, the service provides emotional and practical support.

To mark World Cancer Day, Glasgow Life is urging anyone affected by cancer to pick up the phone.

With libraries across Scotland temporarily closed, the phone-based service is a lifeline to people with cancer and their family, friends and carers.

Almost two thirds of callers to Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries in December 2020 cited their main reasons for calling as simply wanting to talk to someone about how they were feeling.

Liz Wallace, from Riddrie, has called Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries to speak to one of the members of the support team, such as Annmarie Galbraith.

The 54-year-old said: “The experience I have had has been indescribable.

“The fact that I know I am not going through this on my own, and having someone to talk to other than my family when I am feeling anxious and a little down makes me feel better, and look forward to what the future holds.

“The team were calling me regularly to give me emotional support as well as helping me to access financial support I was entitled to.

“I can honestly say going through this ordeal with my liver cancer has been made easier to deal with, and if it was not for their magnificent workers I would not be looking forward to the future in the way that I do.

Annemarie Galbraith, Macmillan Cancer Support service manager pictured working at home in Glasgow with her dog Mischa Picture: Colin Mearns

Annmarie Galbraith, Macmillan Cancer Support service manager pictured working at home in Glasgow with her dog Mischa Picture: Colin Mearns

“Thank you is nowhere near a strong enough word for me to say to show my appreciation for each and every single thing they have done for me.

“I would not hesitate to tell anyone going through cancer treatment to contact them, they will do anything and everything that is required to help you through the ordeal and make your life easier as well as giving you more support than you will ever require.”

Almost half of all people who called Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries in December 2020 described themselves as a person with cancer.

Research conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support shows that Covid-19 is having an impact on people living with cancer across the UK.

Studies revealed that the pandemic has increased the risks of isolation from family and friends, feelings of loneliness, vulnerability and anxiety for people affected by cancer.

Glasgow Life’s Macmillan Programme Manager, Craig Menzies, said: “The stark reality is that cancer can affect anyone, at any time in their life, and it sadly hasn’t stopped because of the pandemic.

“In these turbulent times, emotional and practical support, and even just someone to talk to, has never been more needed.”

Gordon McLean, strategic partnership manager, Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “Our services have had to adapt in the last year with the pandemic to make sure we are still there for people living with cancer.

“The Macmillan services in Glasgow offer lots of support either virtually or by phone.”

As well as emotional support, the Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries team also provides a wide range of free, expert and easy to understand Macmillan information about cancer to people living with and beyond cancer, their loved ones, carers and people who are bereaved.

Chairman of Glasgow Life David McDonald said: “Sadly, there are thousands of people in our city living with the impact of cancer.

“We know that living with cancer or waiting to start cancer treatment is not easy, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more difficult for people.

“A cancer diagnosis can be incredibly isolating, and during the pandemic it can be even harder to find someone to talk to about how you’re feeling.

“Simple things like getting support from your loved ones can be harder at the moment, and of course current restrictions and social distancing can limit the contact you have with them.

“That’s why we want people to know that practical and emotional support from Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries is still available to them.”

To find out more, or just to chat, call 0141 287 2903 and the team will call you back. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.