Cancer patient backs campaign for Information and Support Centre in Halesworth

Pat and Bud Rennie of Holton, near Halesworth.

Pat and Bud Rennie of Holton, near Halesworth. - Credit: Archant

A former firefighter with terminal cancer has backed a campaign to raise £714,000 to build an innovative resource centre in Halesworth.

Bud Rennie, who has been fighting various forms of cancer since 2009, has to make a 60-mile round trip to the hospital every time he needs treatment or a scan, but is now backing plans for a new Information and Support Centre (ISC), which will provide services for people with life-limiting illnesses in north east Suffolk and south Norfolk.

Mr Rennie, who lives in Holton with his wife Pat, was told three years ago that his cancer is terminal, and since then has undergone regular chemotherapy to prevent any further spread.

The 74-year-old said: 'Lots of people who live in this area rely on public transport, and travelling when you're ill can really take it out of you. So having this sort of centre closer to home would be fantastic.

'People would be able to go there and find out more about what will happen to them. We had no idea what to expect when the treatment started – having someone to talk to who understands, who has perhaps had personal experience if a family member had been ill, would have made a real difference. The ISC will do a lot of good for a lot of people.'


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Mr Rennie worked in health physics at Sizewell A for 27 years, and spent 15 years as a retained firefighter in Halesworth.

He has faced his treatment with a smile on his face, and is determined to enjoy life as much as possible with his family.

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The campaign was launched last year by the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, and 60pc of the money needed to build the centre has now been raised.

The centre aims to bring a full range of holistic services closer to home for patients, their families and carers, including benefits advice, wig-fitting, children and family support, complementary therapies, help understanding a diagnosis, counselling and bereavement support.

Mrs Rennie said: 'We were absolutely delighted to hear about the idea for the ISC. It's a 60 mile round trip every time we need to go to hospital for scans or treatment, so to be able to access some of the other sources of support closer to home would be really helpful.

'At times over the past six years we've felt like we were existing in a bubble. At these moments, having someone to talk to about the way you're feeling is really important. The ISC would provide that and would make a real difference.

'Chemotherapy can put stress on both the person who is ill and the person who is supporting them. Again, being able to go to the ISC for extra support and a few pointers about how best to cope would be fantastic.'

In addition to help and support, the centre will also act as venue where other organisations, such as Alzheimer's or cancer support groups, can meet.

Mrs Rennie added: 'When we were told Bud's cancer was terminal, we were determined not to give up the fight. We are now most grateful for what we have, appreciate every day and do our best to make the most out of life.'

Almost £440,000 has now been raised towards the Information and Suport Centre. To find out more, or to make a donation, visit www.halesworthhealth.org/information-and-support-centre

Have you got a story from the Halesworth area? Email amy.smith@archant.co.uk with the details.

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