The Manx Cancer Help Association was formed in 1983 by Eve Berridge and her sister Jennifer Corkill, who had sadly lost both of their parents to cancer. They fully realised the difficulties faced by families coping with the devastating effects that cancer can bring. They realised that there was no support and assistance available for those who were struggling and felt alone, so they set up a charity with the aim to change that.
At first the charity met twice monthly at the Loch Promenade Church and all of the committee members had either had a cancer diagnosis or cared for someone who had.
The first chairman of the association was the Reverend Victor Dawes and the group started to provide emotional support and advice based on “A Gentle Way With Cancer” as introduced by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre and widely recognised as a valuable holistic intervention.
The meetings then relocated to the Manx Blind Welfare Centre and focus was given to nutrition as well as care of the mind, body and spirit.
For the first eight years Eve worked entirely voluntarily, eventually from a converted office in her home. She worked as a sole practitioner to support people in whatever way she could to deal with the emotional devastation that cancer can cause and providing much needed advice and comfort to many families with training through the then named Bristol Cancer Help Centre.
In 1991 Eve was introduced to Nigel Mansell who later became Patron of the charity. Nigel’s name was a boost to the profile of the work that Eve was doing and also helped with fundraising so that Eve was eventually able to be paid for her role. In November 1999 the charity moved to its first dedicated premises downstairs in the Old Schoolhouse at Cronkbourne. In December 2000 the office was officially named The Lisa Lowe Centre in memory of Lisa who had raised substantial funds for the charity during her illness.
Eve was known by all of the families that she supported, for her humour and optimism in the face of what could be the most difficult times. Her blend of humour and compassion made her a very welcome visitor to many homes and her dedication to her role was incredible. Her role continued and expanded throughout the childhood of her two daughters and Manx Cancer Help became very much a part of their family life. When Eve retired in 2005 she left the Isle of Man a wonderful gift and also considerable shoes to fill. The service has continued to grow and develop so that we are able to fulfil all of the requirements of a psychological service and we are very proud of what has been achieved.
After nearly two years based in Woodbourne Road while the Old Schoolhouse was undergoing extensive refurbishment, Manx Cancer Help returned to the upper level and the beautiful new Lisa Lowe centre in August 2012.
We really feel that we have come home and we will continue to maintain and develop the charity in line with the needs of the people who need us and very much with the original vision of Eve and Jennifer in mind.
While the core of our work is and will always be to provide essential emotional support to anyone affected by cancer, we ensure that our services are up-to-date while providing a high level of support and on-going training for staff.
Manx Cancer Help is an Isle of Man cancer charity (no. 1024).