South Eastern Cancer Foundation – Solas Centre, the cancer support charity dedicated to supporting cancer patients in the south east region “has a very bright future “, said Iain Munro, who is to step down next month as SECF chairman after 6 years in the voluntary post.
Acknowledging the hard work of so many people, Mr. Munro said he was delighted with the progress made in recent years at the SECF, with the building of the Solas Centre and other service initiatives, which has created a solid base for the foundation. However, he said “the needs of cancer patients in the region are great and the need to improve services provided by the foundation and expand them required a new effort, vigour and expertise in the SECF to ensure momentum was not lost.”
“Each year across Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Carlow and Kilkenny, 2000 people are diagnosed with cancer. We have a duty to cancer patients to not only make cancer services in the south east as good as other regions but to surpass them.”
He thanked all the “wonderful” people who worked on committees and supported the SECF- Solas building project, including the City Mayors, CJ Falconer architects, Barry Monaghan, Gavin Duffy and design team; Paul Nolan, Quantity Surveyor, who was instrumental in bringing the project in substantially under budget; Mel Morgan, Tracy McDaid, Cathleen O’Neill, Des Whelan and the fundraising committees. He praised Tony Fitzgerald for his “inspirational role”. He thanked all who supported the “South East Run for Life” and all in the south east and in particular in Waterford who donated to SECF Solas. “As the charity relies on donations 100%, their generosity was astonishing” he added.
Mr. Munro spoke very highly of all the regional media. ”The newspapers and radio handled the many issues about cancer with great sensitivity and have worked hard to inform and change old attitudes”. He also recognised the huge commitment of WLRfm and BEAT102-103 and their key role in advancing the Solas Project.
He praised all the staff and volunteers for their dedication to a high quality professional service to clients and the work done in the background to support the mission of the SECF. He paid tribute to Clare Shanahan for her “outstanding dedication to the needs of patients and their families and for setting the highest standards of service”.
The SECF will undertake a period of reorganisation and renewal to ensure that it is ready to take a greater role in ensuring the south east’s cancer services meet world standards. “Cancer patients must have confidence they will be able to avail of the best support services in the years to come. The cutbacks in health spending must not affect the patients in the South East and the SECF will work to lobby for equal status for the region. The SECF will work to ensure patients from the south east have access to the latest treatments and the newest experimental drugs by supporting partnerships with national and international institutions” he added.
Mr. Munro is confident that the SECF-Solas Centre has a bright future and with the recent addition of experienced and highly capable board members is set to develop to a higher level of operation and service.
“While much had been achieved there was much work to do, which will require new thinking, new services and constant renewal to ensure the SECF and Solas Centre constantly meets the needs of as many cancer patients in the region as possible. The future for the SECF requires new energy, leadership, expertise and commitment in order to meet the task ahead. The Solas Project shows what can be achieved and the future, with new leadership, will ensure its continued success.”
Under the direction of a new Chair the foundation will continue to roll out a series of health and education initiatives, client programmes, art programmes, support groups, and counselling services for the region’s cancer patients and their families.
Mr. Munro will step down as chairman next month when the SECF Board of directors will then announce the new chairperson.