Cancer Support France
Cancer Support France-Languedoc has become increasingly well-known in this region over the three years of its existence. Many people know that it offers support to English speaking people whose lives are touched by cancer and who are feeling overwhelmed by their situation. The problems can be very varied-some might want “someone to talk to” who will be able to give emotional support; others might be very nervous about understanding French and navigating an unfamiliar medical system; there might be confusion and anxiety about entitlement to medical care in this country; help might be needed with filling in forms or making phone calls-the list is endless, but all these worries make coping with an illness even more difficult. How many people know about the full range of support offered by CSF and how to access it? Here are some of the questions which are frequently asked-along with the answers which enable you, your friends and family to feel confident about seeking this help if it is ever needed.
Q What is Cancer Support France?
A CSF is a charity registered in France which offers support to English -speaking people whose lives are affected by cancer. This includes the patients themselves and also their family and friends. It was set up in the Charente 2002 by a British former cancer patient who understood the difficulties of being seriously ill in a foreign country-and it has now spread nationwide. CSF-Languedoc covers the Hérault, Gard, Aveyron and Lozère-there is also a Sud de France region which covers the area further west.
Q How do people get in touch with CSF?
Q What services do you offer?
A There is a wide range of support available and each client receives a “package” designed to meet their own varying needs. This can include emotional support over the telephone or face-to-face; the provision of sources of further information; translation of telephone calls, of documents or at medical consultations. And let’s not forget the monthly Drop-in Days in Montagnac in the Hérault, to which all clients and their friends and families are welcome. These have been particularly effective in helping to combat the sense of isolation which frequently follows a diagnosis of cancer. Further details can be obtained by going to the website www.csf-languedoc.com and following the links.
Q Is there anything volunteers won’t do?
A First and foremost they will never give advice, on either a personal or medical level. They have been carefully trained to discuss your situation with you in a way which encourages you to reflect and focus on what is most worrying you and then to identify for yourself the way forward which suits you best. Most of the volunteers are not medically trained and do not offer medical care or assistance, even at a very basic level. If it is information that you feel you need, they have a bank of reliable resources and contacts to which they can direct you. If you are having difficulties with finding your way round the French medical system, there are some volunteers who are experienced in assisting you to sort out this kind of problem.
Q All this sounds quite expensive. How much is it going to cost me?
A It will cost you nothing at all. The organisation is completely reliant for funding on donations and their own fund-raising activities. All services are free-of-charge to the client.
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The sun is out, bank holidays are in, we all want to go and explore, although this can sometimes be ruined by the dreaded mistral (p14). But let’s not spoil things. How about a visit to St Jean du Fos (p20) or if you’re feeling more urban, a nice shopping day in Avignon with a healthy tea break (p23) or a visit to an art gallery in Nîmes? (p17) If you’re feeling extra energetic like me, how about entering the Pont du Gard race on 30 June to raise money for a fantastic local charity? Also in this issue, the remarkable story of a simulated space mission by Claire (p18) and a very funny article by Bernice on her pathological inability (or so she says) to learn languages (p22).