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Worcestershire’s cancer patients have the WOW factor

Six months after the introduction of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s first walking football match for cancer patients and the event is still going from strength to strength.

Patients who have received or are receiving treatment from Worcestershire Oncology Centre are invited to the monthly get together. The matches are held at Perdiswell Leisure Centre in collaboration with Macmillan and the Worcestershire Football Association.

The latest event gave previous patients a chance to meet up again for another match whilst introducing new patients to the group. There were 13 cancer patients who attended, many of these bringing their partners to watch and meet fellow family members.

This initiative is increasing in popularity with more and more players attending each month and as a result support networks are being formed both on and off the pitch.

Mark Atterbury, 57 who was diagnosed and the end of last year said: “I get such a buzz watching other patients like myself really enjoying the football it means a lot to me being so involved and things are going from strength to strength”.

The event offers an alternative to the standard cancer support groups that currently exist; and the newly named Worcestershire Oncology Walking Football Club (WOW  FC) encourages patients to come together and form friendships through their shared experiences of diagnosis and subsequent treatment whilst enjoying a friendly game of football. Many of the players and their families stay behind for refreshments and a chat about their experiences.

Treatment Radiographer, Dan Bloomer said: "It has been fantastic to see bonds created both on and off the pitch, with newly diagnosed patients being able to seek social support from patients who have previously undergone radiotherapy treatment." 

Playing walking football increases cardiovascular exercise which helps to keep patients in good condition pre and post radiotherapy treatment. There is also a psychological benefit for these cancer patients to remain active throughout their treatment and diagnosis.

Treatment Radiographer, Richard Cormie said: “We hope to continue building on the success of the previous matches and have already booked the pitch for future events. With the continued support from staff at the Worcestershire Oncology Centre we hope that WOW FC can become an established team that help to support each other with and beyond cancer diagnosis.”

“The Worcestershire Oncology Centre created these events so that it can extend its care into the community whilst promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for its cancer patients.”