Cancer Care West has launched an expanded support service for children affected by a diagnosis of cancer in the family.
There has been a significant increase in the number of children being referred to the west of Ireland cancer charity, whose parent or sibling has been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
The diagnosis of cancer can be a very stressful time in the life of a family, causing uncertainty, changes in family routines, an increased level of anxiety, frequent hospital visits and physical changes such as an increased level of fatigue.
While children can be very resilient, they can also feel stressed.
Cancer Care West has decided to expand a range of therapeutic play skills to children in order to provide them with skills and innovative ways of dealing with cancer within the family.
From a child’s perspective, the freedom to express their feelings and to feel included in the family’s experience of cancer is often the most helpful support.
“Although our natural instinct is to protect them from the cancer diagnosis, often what children imagine is worse than the reality and they can really benefit from talking about what’s happening in the family,” said a spokesperson.
Play therapy uses a variety of play and creative art therapies, including toys, art, therapeutic storytelling, puppets, clay and play dough and creative visualisation to help children to find a way of speaking about how they are feeling.
“With the support of the therapist, therapeutic play provides a safe space, medium and language whereby a child can identify and communicate what they may have difficulty in articulating,” she said.
“Of paramount importance is for the child to be able to identify emotions and to explore anxieties. This can help them to learn skills to help them cope with what can be a stressful time in the family.”
Cancer Care West will also be launching the Climb programme at its service in Galway during the coming months. This is a programme for children aged between five and 12 whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer.
It allows them to come together and talk about their experiences.
The services are free of charge. For further details log onto their website or call 091 540040. The drop-in centre at 72 Seamus Quirke Road is open from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.