Therapies at the ‘Find Your Sense of Tumour’ Conference – November 2014

Seven young people are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Teenage Cancer Trust, aware that “having cancer at a young age comes with its own particular set of challenges”, provides “services which put the needs of young people first and allow them to face those challenges together”

About 170 young people between 18 and 25 were invited by the charity, to their Find Your Sense of Tumour national conference in November 2014 – “a mix of inspirational presentations, fabulous therapies and great social activities” at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham – transformed into a Winter Wonderland, complete with real reindeer and singing Christmas Tree!

Recent conferences have been funded by the Queen’s Trust which was set up in 1977 with donations from the public to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee to benefit young people helping each other.The charity also received a huge boost in May 2014, following Stephen Sutton’s £5m legacy from his bucket list activities right up to his death.

Since 2004, Virginia McGivern Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist based at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham has organised therapists from all over UK who volunteer their skills and time to give complementary therapies to the young people during the conferences. In her job, she offers “TLC, pain relief and psychological support to the young people and their families during very stressful times.”

This objective is transported to Center Parcs where young people can book for a 30 minutes’ session in 3 villas which are transformed into warm, welcoming ‘therapy centres’. Alternatively they can ‘drop-in’ to the Chill Out room (this time a ‘grotto’ with ice thrones, stalagmites and stalagtites!) at any time during the weekend where a number of therapists are always on duty.

The young people who usually come in a group with staff from their treatment centre, have the opportunity to try complementary therapies, often for the first time, and relax in a safe environment . The young people appreciate special ‘time-out’ and the caring touch of whichever therapy they choose.

In 2014, 11 therapists – 5 whom are FHT members – and most of whom stay for the whole weekend, provided treatments ranging from acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy to reiki and reflexology. Some work regularly with cancer patients in hospital settings, others are experienced therapists who are passionate about the benefit of complementary therapies. It had been a rush get the DBS checks done in time and some regular volunteers were bitterly disappointed to miss out.

Therapists agree it is a truly inspirational weekend to work closely with young people who face a bigger challenge than most of us face in our whole life. It is humbling to see how they cope with the huge physical and emotional impact of cancer with a stunning maturity and enjoy themselves during this unique weekend.

We look forward eagerly to the next conference in July which will be for 14-18 year olds at a venue in Staffordshire.

Highlights are videoed and can be viewed at

Article submitted by Jacky Huson to International Therapist – professional magazine for the Federation of Holistic Therapists.


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