We Hear You (WHY) is a local charity providing free professional counselling to children and adults affected by cancer or a life threatening condition across Somerset, Bath and NE Somerset and Wiltshire. WHY’s Director Melissa Hillier looks back on the highlights of WHY’s 25th anniversary year.
“As WHYs 25th year draws to a close we can look back on 12 months that have been filled with some amazing highs as well as some lows which have hit us hard. Both things have informed our mission to provide free emotional support to anyone who has been affected by cancer or any other life threatening condition.
Yet again, we’ve been supported in our work by some amazing people. Rachel Clark took on her ‘365 for WHY’ challenge, running a mile every single day this year. Rachel and WHY have been truly humbled by the level of support this has generated from young and old and those familiar and not so familiar with our work. Rachel has done an amazing job of promoting WHY so that more people who need us can find us. I think we will all come to miss those miles next year, they have really been so inspiring. We also saw a huge team take on the Three Peaks Challenge and WHY’s supporters crossed the Sahara and the Arctic, cycled the length of the UK, ran half marathons, jumped out of planes and more. We’re also grateful to have had the support of so many businesses and individuals throughout the year who have been part of a busy and successful year of corporate and community fundraising.
WHYs service has continued to grow and we now offer more than 110 counselling sessions each week. This year we piloted some new forms of support, including WHYoutdoors – a course in nature for those living with and beyond cancer. We have run Nordic Walking sessions, organised free swimming and delivered some amazing craft workshops in the run up to Christmas for anyone impacted by cancer.
In October we held our first WHY conference – marking the journey the charity has been on since 1994. We were so delighted that our founder Jill Miller was able to attend. Whilst Jill had been unwell for some time with cancer, we were all devastated to hear she had died on 28th October. Jill was a remarkable and inspirational individual, and her vision for supporting people going through a cancer diagnosis continues in the work of We Hear You. What a legacy to leave! We will continue supporting people and providing a safe space for them to share their feelings and experiences.
2020 is already shaping up to be a busy year. We have new services to deliver to reach more men, who we know need us just as much as women but who represent around 20% of the people we support. We also plan to increase our one-to-one counselling to meet the ever-growing demand. We couldn’t do any of this without the incredible support of the communities we work in. The more we can raise, the more help and support we can provide. Many thanks and best wishes for the festive season – bring on 2020!”
To access We Hear You’s free professional counselling service for anyone affected by a life threatening diagnosis, please call 01373 455255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.