The fight against cancer

Last Christmas I attended a concert in Chichester Cathedral in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I was incredibly struck by the words of the Chief Executive of the charity. He said that one in three of us will get cancer in our lives, and one in four will die from it.

We all have family members and friends who have been touched by this disease. In spite of ever more advanced cures and extended remission times, it's not surprising that "the big C" still frightens us - and our survival rates are amongst the lowest in Europe.

Macmillan does a wonderful job in providing support for cancer patients. They will once again be holding "The World's Biggest Coffee Morning", with a local event at Lodge Hill on Saturday 29 September at 10am.

On Monday I attended the opening ceremony of the Mary How Trust's office in the very smart new Pulborough Primary Care Centre. I am honoured to be a Patron of the Trust, which does such important work in West Sussex in helping to prevent cancer. It was good to meet the Trust's staff and to see the mobile screening unit.

By coincidence, that evening I attended the launch at Duncton Mill of a new initiative, "Casting for Recovery". It is a unique programme for women who have or have had breast cancer, introducing them to fly-fishing at weekend retreats.

Casting for Recovery was founded in the United States ten years ago and has since helped more than 2,000 breast cancer survivors. The peaceful locations, counselling and even the arm movements in casting all have a powerful therapeutic effect.

The programme is supported by the Countryside Alliance and run by volunteer members of the England Ladies Fly-fishing Association. When cancer visits us, we will all have cause to be grateful to the selfless people who give their time to help us through.

Michelle Taylor