Panthers to tackle cancer head on

The Pink Panthers Cancer Support Group pictured at their meeting last week.
The Pink Panthers Cancer Support Group pictured at their meeting last week.

Willie McGahey was diagnosed with cancer last December.

Since then, Willie has undergone surgery to have part of his colon removed and is currently recovering.

He resides in the Glen area of Derry and it was during a conversation with his next door neighbour, a member of the ‘Pink Ladies’ Breast Cancer Support Group, that Willie heard about a male cancer support group, the ‘Pink Panthers.’

“When I was diagnosed with cancer it was the most lonely feeling I have ever experienced, but since joining the ‘Pink Panthers’ I no longer feel that way,” said Willie.

The ‘Pink Panthers’ were established in June, 2012 and since that time the group meets on the last Thursday of every month in Inch View.

The group started out with just six members but now more than 20 men affected by cancer meet on a regular basis to talk about their issues.

The ‘Pink Panthers’ are also to the fore in raising awareness of male cancer locally and over the last few years they have been delivering information sessions all over Derry.

At 44 years-old, Rory Leighton is the youngest member of the Pink Panthers.’ He has never been diagnosed with cancer but he lost his mother to the illness four years ago.

“It’s great being able to come here and chat with the rest of the group,” said Rory.

“Although I don’t have cancer I am not made feel any different. Losing my mother to cancer was very difficult and I find coming here and meeting up with the rest of the group really helps.”

Margaret Cunningham is the facilitator at the ‘Pink Panthers’ and she said she couldn’t imagine working with a nicer group of men.

“Just look at them - I couldn’t find a better bunch if I tried,” she smiled.

“We have a great groupof men here and anyone thinking of joining should know that they will never be asked to do anything that they are not comfortable with.

“We have quite a number of events organised for November (male cancer awareness month). All of the money raised goes towards helping the ‘Pink Panthers’ to raise awareness of male cancer - it’s a conversation we all should be comfortable with having,” said Margaret.

For more information on the Pink Panthers telephone 02871 370 196 or 07710025494