People living with cancer are coming to terms with the disease with the help of a Northumbrian walking group.
The Macmillan Cancer Walk and Talk Group (Northumberland) invites people with the disease to join together for rambles on a regular basis through some of the area’s stunning countryside.
The group is organised by the Macmillan Support Service Northumberland, which offers free, one-to-one support for anyone affected by cancer, including family and carers.
Among those taking part in the walks is father-of-three Bill Graham, who has had prostate cancer for 10 years.
Bill, 68, lives with wife Jennifer in Widdrington.
He said: “Walking with the group provides a less formal setting to talk about cancer.
“You meet other people with cancer and you can share stories, experiences and have a laugh, which is a great therapy in its own right.
“Friends and family have joined us and that’s really good for them too.
“People from all backgrounds take part.
“That’s the thing with cancer, it’s a great leveller. It can affect anyone.”
When Bill was diagnosed, he was working as a water treatment operator for Northumbria Water. He took early retirement due to his diagnosis.
He added: “Whenever I went to hospital and saw anything about ‘the big C’, I always thought it wasn’t something I ever wanted in my life.
“It was a shock to hear the news I had cancer and I remember the first night being the worst.
“You’re lying there thinking of cancer as a death sentence. However, when I started going regularly to the Freeman Hospital, you’re surrounded by people who are very experienced in cancer and you start to realise things might not be so bad.”
Denise Robson, from the Macmillan Support Service Northumberland, said: “Macmillan Cancer Support wants to make sure no one faces cancer alone.
“The walk and talk group is one such way of helping people affected by cancer and we’re delighted it is proving to be such a success.
“We welcome more walkers and we’re only a phone call away for anyone in Northumberland wanting support or advice about cancer.”
The next walking event takes place in Newbiggin-by-the-sea on June 12.
Meet at the museum car park at 10am.
For further information about the Macmillan service, or future walking events, call Denise Robson or 01670 855533 or 07584771229.
For cancer support every step of the way call Macmillan on 0808 8080000 (Monday to Friday, between 9am and 8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk