Feb 6 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
A CANCER survivor has set up a Christian cancer support group to help provide spiritual and practical help to those suffering with the disease.
Helen Jones originally started the organisation in Bristol after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, exactly a month after she turned 40 in 2010.
Being a committed Christian, Helen sought out a Christian organisation after she was diagnosed to help her through her fight against the disease, but was unable to find one.
Helen underwent six months of gruelling chemotherapy and had a mastectomy before being given the all-clear.
Helen said: “Being told you have cancer is one of the scariest things to ever happen to me and I immediately looked for a faith- based group to pray with me but I couldn’t find anything and was shocked.
“When I got the all- clear, I decided that I would set something up that would provide prayer and spiritual support, as well as practical help, as a way to demonstrate God’s love.”
Helen set up Firm Roots Cancer support at her church in Bristol in summer 2012, and was overwhelmed by the response she received.
The monthly support group for people with cancer, and their loved ones, proved to be extremely popular, leading to her running retreat days where people could spend a quiet day in God’s presence and be encouraged by each other.
Helen moved to Burscough in July last year with her husband, Ian, and two boys Ben, 15, and Olly, 12, after Ian was appointed curate – assistant priest – at St John’s, Burscough.
In November last year, the church council gave their approval for Helen to set up a Firm Roots group in St John’s.
The group will be working with Macmillan Cancer Support and are also looking to recruit volunteers to offer practical support such as ironing, gardening and meal delivery to people.
Helen said: “It’s a really exciting initiative and there is such a massive need for it.
“I have a small team running Firm Roots down in Bristol now, and my vision is that it will spread across the North West and perhaps go nationwide.
“In the future, I hope to be able to run fun days for children whose relatives are suffering from cancer, and I’d also like to offer spouse support groups.
“I’ve got lots of ideas and am incredibly passionate about making it a success.”
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at St John’s Church Hall, from 6.30 to 8.30pm.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 4.