‘Text Santa’ and help Marie Curie expand their vital Helper Service

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Tonight (Friday) Marie Curie Cancer Care will be one of the six charities to benefit from the annual ITV charity appeal ‘Text Santa’.

This year any money raised by Marie Curie through the appeal will be used for their Helper Service, which sees volunteers providing social support to cancer patients.

Lisburn man Adrian Forde is one of the beneficiaries of the service and his friend Rob, who visits him every week, is hoping local people will support the cause by texting the appeal.

Rob, who is originally from Wales, began volunteering with Marie Curie after he retired two years ago. “After I retired I saw a lady working hard collecting funds for Marie Curie and I gave her my contact details to see if I could be of any service,” explained Rob.

“I got a call from the manager of the Helper Service and she invited me in for a chat.

“The charity paired me with Adrian and I started visiting him in Lisburn for about three hours a week.”

During his visits, Rob will take Adrian, who is in a wheelchair, out of the home and they have been to visit some of Northern Ireland’s top attractions, including the Titanic Quarter and Armagh Planetarium.

Adrian, who is now in his early 50s, suffered a terrible accident when he was in his twenties.

Whilst mountaineering he fell from Ben Nevis and the 1000ft fall left him with severe physical difficulties.

A number of months ago Adrian, now in his early 50s, was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Upon hearing about the Helper service Adrian said he would enjoy one-to-one company.

Now, after a number of months of weekly three hour visits with his Helper volunteer Rob, Adrian not only has a regular chess companion but someone that he looks forward to spending time with.

However, Adrian isn’t the only one to benefit and Rob is certain he gets just as much out of the experience as Adrian. “The whole experience has been brilliant and I’d encourage everyone to give it a go,” said Rob.

Text Santa will air on ITV at 8m on December 19. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/textsanta or for further information please visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/textsanta.