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New head and neck cancers support group launched

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A new support group for Warrington people diagnosed and living with head and neck related cancers has been launched in the town.

Heads2gether is a newly formed support group launched by retired police officer Dave Betts QPM who was diagnosed with neck cancer in 1980 with a life expectancy of just six months.

Now nearly 40 years on he wants to help others and has teamed up with Dave Thompson, Chief Executive of Warrington Disability Partnership, who has suffered a similar cancer, benefiting from improved treatments.

Dave Betts said :”My cancer journey began in 1980 when I was diagnosed with a malignant Parotid Gland tumour on the right side of my neck. The prognosis was poor and my expected lifespan was six months. I was a young police officer in Warrington.

“The surgery involved the removal of the gland, the tumour and the severing of the facial nerve. This followed by intensive radiotherapy which has throughout my life caused serious issues related to radionecrosis. I am so fortunate to have survived through the excellent treatment from the NHS and care and support from my wife Glen. I was also fortunate to have enjoyed a successful working career. There has though always been a void relating to the support from other areas to help along the journey.

“During recent visits to the Nottingham University Hospital on a related issue I became aware of a support network in the Midlands called Head2gether. Having made contact with them and now through Aintree Hospital which appears to be a centre of excellence for Head and Neck cancers I decided to set up with other interested parties Warringtons own Heads2gether support group. Our first meeting took place with Dave Thompsons assistance at the Disability Awareness Centre last month.

“Our next meeting is to take place at the same venue. My wish throughout my journey has been to inspire others with my own story at a time when they may be at their lowest ebb and facing an uncertain future. I wish to invite those sufferers in the community to join us at our future meetings in the hope they can share their concerns with us and perhaps provide clarity of other available support to help them. Those family members or friends who are closely assisting them would be most welcome also. Anyone wishing to attend please let me know.”

Should anyone wish to know any more about Dave’s personal journey please come along to the meeting or email davejbetts@gmail.com

The group’s next meeting is scheduled to take place at Warrington Disabaility Partnership’s centre for Independent Living on Beaufort Street on Thursday 5th December 2019 at 2.30pm – light refreshments will be provided.

This will provide a great opportunity to meet other patients, family members, carers and members of your medical support team in an informal and friendly environment and to learn more about living with Head and Neck Cancer.

Future meeting dates are as follows.

Thursday 9th January 2020
Thursday 6th February 2020
Thursday 5th March 2020
Thursday 9th April 2020
Thursday 7th May 2020
Thursday 4th June 2020
Thursday 2nd July 2020
Thursday 6th August 2020
Thursday 10th September 2020
Thursday 8th October 2020
Thursday 5th November 2020
Thursday 3rd December 2020

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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