Wales’ first ManVan, a 38ft American-style motorhome converted to bring dedicated mobile cancer support to communities across Wales, is celebrating a year on the road.
The van has been delivering much-needed advice and support to men affected by prostate or testicular cancer in areas where services like these are limited or non-existent. It offers support from a specialist nurse, one-to-one counselling, couples’ counselling, group support and benefits advice.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Wales, with over 2,500 Welsh men being diagnosed each year.
We teamed up with Movember and cancer charity, Tenovus Cancer Care to make the ManVan happen. Since hitting the road in April 2014, it’s been all over Wales. It’s had more than 3,200 visitors and helped over 160 men who had a cancer diagnosis and have gone on to use the ManVan’s support services. On average each supported man had five appointments as we guided them through their cancer journey
Visitor ages ranged from those in their early 20s right through to those over 75. Staff on board have also helped men and their families claim benefits worth more than £300,000 to help them through.
In early 2014, Patrick from Rhos on Sea in Conwy found out he had the disease. Both he and his wife Patricia really benefitted from the ManVan’s services. Patrick said: “The diagnosis was devastating and a huge shock to the whole family. My daughter realised that we all needed some help and Googled ‘prostate cancer’. She found the Tenovus Cancer Care website and read about the ‘ManVan’. Luckily it was visiting our local community the very next day, just a couple of miles down the road.
“We popped along and met the team, who were so easy to talk to. They were helpful, knowledgeable and we went on to get some useful benefits advice. As well as that, my wife was able to spend time with the counsellor on board to help her to cope.”
Heather Blake, Director of Services at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Prostate cancer affects more than 17,000 men in Wales and many will need support, whether it’s helping them come to terms with a diagnosis or dealing with the side effects of treatment and the emotional impact of the disease. The ManVan is doing that and it’s great to see the impact it’s having not just on the lives of men with prostate cancer, but their families too. We’re looking forward to inviting many more guys on board as the van continues on its journey across Wales.”
Claudia McVie, Tenovus Cancer Care Chief Executive, said: “We’re so pleased that we’ve been able to help so many men. We know it can sometimes be difficult for men to talk about their worries, so we designed the space specifically to appeal to men and make them feel comfortable.”
Sarah Coghlan, UK Director of the Movember Foundation added: “It’s heart-warming to know that such a difference can be made through the power of the moustache. Without the efforts of our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, this wouldn’t have been possible.”