The inspiration for Wigwam came from Yes to Life’s former Executive Director, Sue De Cesare, who retired recently after eight stellar years heading up the charity.
“The idea came to me after listening to people calling the Yes to Life helpline. People with cancer so often feel lonely and need to speak to others in a similar situation. Their loneliness can be made worse when family and friends do not understand why they would choose to mix mainstream medicine with complementary therapies. People were so grateful for our helpline support, along with the events and workshops, I knew that creating a forum for sharing experiences and making friends would be an enormous help.”
Sue De Cesare
“The idea of the title was that a wigwam provides shelter that is flexible, with an informal style and not fixed in any one place. The way that the poles of a wigwam lean inwards to support to each other illustrates how a successful group can offer care and help to its members.”
Richard Mayon-White, diagnosed with cancer in 2016
By joining you will gain access to regular online forums, webinars and well-being groups on a whole range of topics on integrative health and well-being. All led by well-known practitioners. All the forums have half the time dedicated to question and answers so it is a wonderful opportunity to ask that burning question. Podcasts of the forums are available afterwards on the website.
Wigwam started out as several support groups meeting locally, taking it to the online platform we have today, was the initiative of Clare McLusky, a Yes to Life trustee. At the start of the C-19 pandemic, Clare saw the over-whelming need to facilitate the growth and accessibility of Wigwam cancer support groups by bringing them online and also to explore what other support could be offered. It is her passion and focus that has been the driving force in creating the health resource that Wigwam has become. It was on 10th May 2020 that Wigwam officially launched; a day considered highly auspicious for Grand Openings by Chinese astrology.
“It is just great to be providing a place for people to connect and share their stories and be inspired and supported not just by the talks on our forums or the well-being groups but also by each other. It is thanks to Miquel Leon, our wonderful Executive Director and our wonderful Wigwam group facilitators that this all came into being. I am grateful too, to all the amazing practitioners who give their time and knowledge to this endeavour.”
We were lucky to then have one of the Wigwam Group Facilitators, Philip Booth, come on board in July 2020 to help coordinate and grow Wigwam. Philip is a skilled community builder and his enthusiasm and commitment match Clare’s. Then in July 2021 we have been delighted to be joined by Julie Mason. Julie has a background in business and design and had a terminal cancer prognosis but is now now ‘No Evidence of Disease’.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of developing Wigwam. I know that following conventional, lifestyle and complementary approaches to cancer is not always easy. The support of others has been a crucial part of my own cancer journey and the feedback from others is that support in the Wigwam groups has been a crucial part of their own understanding and healing. If anyone is interested in joining do get in touch and we can share more about the groups.”