Cork cancer charity sees sharp increase in demand for services

Cork ARC opens new ‘centre of excellence’ after pandemic restricted operations

Taoiseach, Micheál Martin has paid tribute to a Cork cancer charity for acting as "a pillar of support in our community" over the past 20 years as he officially opened the charity's new centre in the city.

Mr Martin said Cork ARC Cancer Support had developed Sarsfield House in Wilton on Cork's southside with the aim of it becoming "a benchmark centre of excellence for the provision of non-clinical cancer support in Ireland".

The charity’s general manager, Caitriona O’Mahony said it had seen a sharp increase in demand for its services, with over 10,881 individual supports delivered in 2021 and over 250 people making contact with the charity for the first time during those 12 months.

This was on top of a steady base of 1,500 regular users, said Ms O’Mahony as she outlined the services provided, which include counselling, group therapies, physical therapies, bereavement support, mindfulness-based stress reduction, art therapy and more.

Ms O’Mahony said that Cork ARC, which was founded in 2003, moved to the state of the art 8,000 sq foot Sarsfield House in Wilton in 2019 which allowed the charity to significantly increase and expand its service offering in Cork city.

However, in-house services were quickly curtailed with the onset of Covid 19 shortly after the move. The charity continued its programme of services, virtually, throughout the pandemic by providing information and support to patients and their families, she added.

Co-chairperson and one of the founding figures of Cork ARC, Professor Seamus O’Reilly said the charity was very grateful to the people of Cork for their hugely generous donations over the years which has allowed the charity to develop the facility.

“The new facility provides cancer counselling and support to patients with cancer and their families free of charge - this expanded service is greatly needed as we recover from the pandemic,” he said at the launch on Saturday, as he also thanked Mr Martin for his support for the service over the past two decades.

Prof O'Reilly reminded Mr Martin during a tour of Sarsfield House of his role in supporting the charity which helped it secure its original premises, Cliffdale on College Road where the charity was based for nearly 20 years before demand for its services outgrew the facility.

He also pointed out ARC Cancer Support operates a support centre in Bantry since 2015 to support the people of west Cork, who have often to travel long distances to Cork city for their treatment and may be unable to travel for the holistic support that can ease the burden of cancer.

Anyone who wants to know about Cork ARC Cancer Support House can learn more by visiting www.corkcancersupport.ie