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Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support

2168. Mary Kahn

Mary Kahn, from Dorset, has led a support network for cancer patients across West Dorset and Devon after realising during her own treatment for breast cancer there were no local support groups available.

Mary received her diagnosis in 2017 and, following treatment, was travelling for over an hour from her rural home to access counselling. Mary decided to set up a more local group, and held the first meeting of ‘Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support’ around her kitchen table in 2018. 

Since then, Mary and her team of volunteers have fundraised to provide over £140,000 of support through counselling and a range of therapy services for hundreds of patients and their families. They are also custodians of a beach hut in Lyme Regis for the dedicated use of local people affected by cancer, which also serves as a lasting legacy for Mary Anning, the famous fossil hunter who died from breast cancer. 

The award for Mary coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Congratulating Mary on her award, Richard Foord, Mary’s local MP for for Tiverton and Honiton, said:

“Volunteers like Mary do incredible work. In rural areas like ours, formal services are often sparse and it’s because of the dedication of people like her that our communities have proper support networks in place. Her work to support those in the Axe Valley living with cancer is a noble endeavour and the new partnership between ‘Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support’ and Axminster Hospital will make a real difference to people’s lives. I commend her for her work and am overjoyed to see her commitment recognised.”

Mary said:

“Receiving this recognition is a very humbling and a wonderful surprise. What started around my kitchen table has grown beyond what I ever thought was sadly needed. This award I hope will give a boost to all those involved to know that community work is recognised and valued. I hope also it will encourage anyone feeling the impact of cancer to reach out for support and know it is OK not to be ok.”

Find out more about ‘Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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