Father received vital help and support from cancer charity

Mark Fenwick
Mark Fenwick

New workshops to help people navigate their closest relationships while living with cancer will now be held at Maggie’s Newcastle, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

And Mark Fenwick, from Brinkburn, believes the sessions will offer vital support for those impacted by the illness. The 54-year-old was diagnosed with a slow-growing gastro-intestinal stromal tumour in 2016.

Thankfully, he has come through a year of targeted therapy to reduce his cancer and an operation which has removed his tumour without having to cut away any liver or pancreas.

Mark says that life became a bit of a blur when his diagnosis was made and he was especially worried about telling his two children, who were at the tender ages of 12 and 14.

He said: “It was a bit of a journey to find the right medical team who really understood my type of tumour and my stage of illness, but once I had this in place, my concerns were really about how to tell my young family. That’s when Maggie’s Newcastle, in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital, came to the rescue. The staff at Maggie’s helped to put me at ease and helped me to tell my children in a positive way.”

Mark, who runs a wedding business, says that absolute fatigue during his year of treatment made work-life very difficult, but he is now back to work full-time and feels that life is getting back to normal.

He adds: “It’s been a long journey to get to this stage, but I’ve had two scans since my operation last November. There are no visible signs of cancer and my outlook is good. Maggie’s was invaluable in helping me navigate my illness and tell my children about my cancer.”

The new workshops have been developed on the back of research Maggie’s conducted earlier this year, revealing that two thirds of people living with cancer believe that the experience has had an impact on their relationship.

Maggie’s Newcastle will be holding its first workshop, Relationships when life is full of uncertainty, on December 12 at 1.30pm. For details, email newcastle@maggiescentres.org
Other workshops will include relationships when your body has changed and supporting/talking with children.