A man is backing the campaign of a north-east cancer charity which has supported him following his diagnosis.
Graham Shanks, 68, who lives in Stonehaven, said CLAN had been a lifeline for him during challenging times.
After being diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer, the north-east charity has offered him a strong support network – which he said was important for those affected by a cancer diagnosis.
CLAN continues to carry out vital work during the pandemic but has been forced to cancel major fundraising events due to the lockdown.
The charity is now urging people to back its “Here for You” appeal and donate £10, or whatever they can, to ensure it can continue to support people affected by cancer across the region.
The appeal has been promoted by Aberdeenshire raised multi-award winning singer and songwriter, Emeli Sande.
She recorded a special music video for of her song ‘Next To Me’ for the appeal.
Graham said : “I was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in April of 2018 and I think at that time it’s a shock and you get so much information thrown at you from the hospital that I suppose in a way I retreated a little bit.”
The retired Police Scotland worker was then encouraged by a friend to join CLAN’s walking group after he learned of his illness.
The opportunity allowed him to meet other people in similar circumstances, and now he attends every week, along with 10 to 15 others, who meet up every Friday morning for a walk in the area.
They also head to the CLAN centre for tea, coffee, biscuits and a blether.
He said: ”It’s giving you exercise which is always good, but it gives you the chance to speak in a very relaxed atmosphere with others who are in the same situation as yourself.”
And although Graham says there is no pressure to discuss your illness or diagnosis, the opportunity to meet others with similar stories can be beneficial.
He said: “The end result is you feel you’ve had contact with people who really understand what you’re going through and that turns out to be a very good thing.”
“It’s such a blow to be told that you’ve got this illness and in my case it’s not curable.
“There’s the part of you that wants to deny it, that doesn’t want it to be true and I think that’s a natural enough emotion to feel.”
However, with his wife by his side and the support of family, friends and CLAN, he has now come out the other side.
Now, he also takes part in art therapy classes as well as reflexology sessions at the Aberdeen charity base.
He said: “It is so relaxing and for that hour you have no thoughts about your illness.”
Seven cancer centres have had to temporarily close due to the pandemic, but the charity is continuing to offer support through dedicated telephone lines.
And when the lockdown ends, the centres will be open again.
Graham said: “It’s a welcoming environment as soon as you go in through the door, and it helps with relaxation, which when you have the kind of diagnosis that many of us have is really quite important.
“Because you could get extremely concerned, anxious, worked up and sometimes you just want to retreat and not do anything.
“Well, take a wee trip out to CLAN and almost always you will come away feeling better.”