Cancer survivor takes on society post

By Anne-Marie Emerson

The new manager of the local Cancer Society has a special insight into the experiences of people living with cancer.

Linda Farley began her role as the manager of the Wanganui-Rangitikei-Waimarino Cancer Society on Monday and is already getting stuck into the job.

She replaces retiring manager Wendy Paterson, who held the role for nearly a decade.

Mrs Farley comes from a background in adult education and has also been involved in a number of community organisations. She and her husband farm on the Parapara Rd.

Five years ago, she faced her own battle with breast cancer but is now in good health. She said she applied for the job because "it pushed my buttons".

"I've been through the cancer experience, so I know what it's like. I knew this was my job, and I'm excited to be here."

Mrs Farley would like to see the society create a greater cultural inclusion - the cancer statistics for Maori and Pasifika people were particularly concerning, she said.

And she hopes to include more young people in the society's work, particularly secondary school students.

"They are at the age when they really need to be caring for themselves, protecting their skin from the sun and so on."

Mrs Farley said she would like to look at providing more assistance to people at the end of their cancer treatment - a time that she knows can be very difficult.

"When you have cancer, you have great support from the hospitals and the health professionals. But once your treatment is over, there's no support. It's a time when depression can set in.

"We can offer support. Where there's a need, we can fill it."

A major focus for Mrs Farley is the Relay For Life at Cooks Gardens in March 2013. She and the society's community health adviser, Jane Beamsley, are working to put the event on.

"I'm looking forward to it - it's a real buzz," she said.

Central Districts Cancer Society chief executive, Roger Twentyman, said he welcomed Mrs Farley to the manager's position and acknowledged Mrs Paterson's work.

"She has played a significant role in promoting the society in Wanganui. Wendy leaves with the best wishes of the executive committee and staff," he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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