Support that’s available to anyone, anywhere

As Marie Curie’s information and support services celebrate their first birthday (pictured below is our Support Line team), we look at some of the ways they’ve helped people over the last year.

Peter Buckle’s wife Wendy died in 2011, six months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Peter was Wendy’s main carer and faced particular difficulties when she lost the ability to speak:

“This was all completely new territory. A single place to get help would have been like gold dust. I remember using the phrase at the time that what I needed was a one-stop shop, rather than a 10 or 11-stop shop.”

Meeting an urgent need

Peter’s experience is one of many that highlight how people affected by a terminal illness can have a hard time finding the right information and support when they need it most.

People aren’t always getting the right support because they don’t know what’s available. They could also be unaware of issues to consider or questions to ask, while healthcare professionals don’t always have the time to give advice and explain things.     

That’s why, we launched our new information and support services a year ago today (8 April) – so we can reach more people living with a terminal illness. People can now access free and reliable information and support by phoning the Marie Curie Support Line to talk to one of our trained advisers or visiting our website.

Time to talk

In the first year, our Support Line received more than 9,000 calls – mostly from people who are caring for someone living with a terminal illness. And while more than half were looking for practical information, many go on to receive emotional support as well.

Support Line adviser Claire helps people to find information and offers a friendly ear when the moment is right.

Claire says: “We treat everyone as individuals by listening closely to their needs, empathising, and offering whatever support we can. People sometimes feel overwhelmed by their situation and don’t know what to ask, or it’s difficult to articulate how they feel. Quite often, they ring about one thing, and other questions and concerns come out.”

People who call the Support Line appreciate our advisers having the time to talk, even when they may not have all the answers. And for those who don’t feel up to calling, there’s our new online chat service, which offers information and support through instant messaging.

Claire says: “It’s helpful and comforting for people to talk and we provide that space. They can be open about their feelings, and not worry about how we might react. We also let people know their options, so they can get further support if needed. Just knowing what’s out there can help people make decisions, or plan ahead.”

Support at your fingertips

Our website has over 200 pages of clear, practical information about living with a terminal illness, such as managing symptoms and finding social care support, as well as resources such as booklets and audio CDs that people can download or order for free.

We’ve also set up an online community where people can share their experiences and find support at any time.

If you’re looking for support or information, for yourself or your loved one, why not give us a call? We’ve now extended our Support Line hours and we're open on Saturdays. Our new hours are 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) and 11am to 5pm (Saturday).