Organisation:Irish Cancer SocietyCategory:Large OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :200095021. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? The Irish Cancer Society is a community of patients, survivors, volunteers, supporters, health & social care professionals & researchers. With the number of cancer cases set to double in Ireland by 2045 & the pandemic presenting serious & lasting challenges to those affected by cancer, our work is now more important than ever. We have all been affected by cancer & we are all determined to do everything we can to ensure less people get the disease, more patients survive it & everyone has access to world class treatment, care & support. Our vision is that, by 2025, 3 out of every 4 cancer patients in Ireland will survive their diagnosis, & in future no one in Ireland will die from the disease. Together, we will save lives & significantly improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? Our Freephone Support Line is available to provide expert advice, information or a listening ear to anyone with a concern, as are our 13 Daffodil Centres nationwide. Our Night Nurses provide end-of-life care for patients in their own home, allowing people to remain at home for the last days of their lives surrounded by their loved ones. During Covid we pivoted to provide these services in the pandemic environment. We hired more nurses to meet increasing demand for our Night Nursing service. We introduced a remote counselling service to ensure people could still access vital cancer counselling. When others were staying home our Volunteer Drivers were on the road providing free & safe transport for patients in treatment. We fund the crucial work of over 100 cancer researchers each year
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.Talking to an Irish Cancer Society Survivor Support volunteer proved an invaluable part of Paul McLoone’s recovery process. Paul first picked up the phone to the Society way back in 2006, & he is thankful to have been able to avail of the vital assistance on offer throughout successive diagnoses of bowel, liver, prostate & skin cancer since then. “I’ve been fortunate to benefit from a range of services, including free cancer counselling & really helpful conversations with their Survivor Support volunteers. I find that if you talk with someone who is experienced & has been through the same thing as you, you get the best advice, the best support & a shoulder to lean on. “I did not try to do this on my own. There’s not a chance that I would have got through this if I tried to do this on a solo run. I reached out & I shared my deepest feelings, & my family were brilliant too. The Irish Cancer Society have done so much for me, & if not for all the good advice they’ve had to offer I may not be standing here today. It's a free service & it's magnificent. “I am delighted that I have gotten back precious time to spend with my granddaughter who I’m now getting to see grow up. I’ve had so much amazing support over the years, & my overriding feeling is of relief & joy that I am still alive & well, & looking forward to a bright future.”
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. With restrictions in place in hospitals & nursing homes, many more people at end-of-life wanted to die at home with their loved ones. Our Night Nursing service allowed this to happen. We provided approximately 7,700 nights of Night Nursing to people with cancer in 2020, up 13% from 2019. This care allowed 2,229 cancer patients to die at home with their loved ones. During the first wave of the pandemic we extended our Freephone Support Line opening hours to provide a 7-day-a-week service. April & May saw a 64% increase in calls answered compared to January & February, & over the year our Support Line answered more than 8,000 calls & emails in 2020. Our Volunteer Driver Services operated throughout the year transporting close to 1,600 people to almost 12,000 chemotherapy & related appointments. 99% of requests for a drive were fulfilled thanks to the dedication of our volunteers. This included 270 new volunteer drivers on-boarded in 2020 as many of our long-standing volunteers had to step back temporarily from volunteering due to COVID-19. We introduced a remote counselling service in 2020 which directly delivered over 900 counselling sessions to people affected by cancer, in addition to nearly 8,000 remote & face-to-face sessions funded through our affiliate programme. Following our Lung Cancer Awareness campaign in September 2020 electronic referrals by GPs to Rapid Access Lung Clinics that month were the highest since February 2020, with a 29% month-on-month increase.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?Our true strength lies in the breadth of our work. We are the only organisation in Ireland providing both cancer services, support & investing in research. We are there for people at every stage of their cancer experience from diagnosis, through treatment & into survivorship, & we are working to improve every stage of that experience. As the largest voluntary funder of cancer research that provides vital hope for those impacted by the disease we have provided substantial investment into innovative projects ranging from Ireland’s first freely available fertility preservation service for childhood cancer patients, to our Women’s Health Initiative offering crucial survivorship supports to help patients overcome the devastating yet often overlooked side effects of cancer treatment.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.You can help us achieve a future where nobody in Ireland dies from cancer – fundraise for us, volunteer or simply spread the word so that we can be there for everyone who needs us. We are always in need of more volunteers across our Volunteer Driver Service, our 21 charity shops nationwide that provide a vital source of income for our work, and our Survivor Support Programme where those who have been through a cancer diagnosis can give help & advice to others who find themselves in a similar position. Our fundraisers run right throughout the year, from our flagship Daffodil Day event each March to our Marathon in a Month Challenge, and our Relay for Life committees around the country. Join in & help us work towards our vision.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?We are accountable and transparent, & work to the highest standards of governance and financial management. This means we are honest, ethical and efficient in our work. We hold ourselves accountable for the delivery of our goals & objectives. In line with these principles we ensure full compliance with the Charities Governance Code and Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public. In addition, the Society is compliant with relevant obligations under the Companies Act 2014 and the Charities Act 2009, and we publish unabridged & timely reports on our accounts annually.