Lucy and Maurice Looby, with LARCC ambassador Bressie, and LARCC general manager Bernie McHugh, at the launch of Westmeath's Fittest Company last week.

Larcc launches online storytelling forum

A new online forum inviting cancer patients to share their stories so others can be helped cope with the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process, has been launched by The Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC (Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Centre) in Multyfarnham.

The Lazarus Community Forum is the brainchild of Frank Russell from Blanchardstown, Dublin, a former Air Corps commandant and retired air accidents inspector.

Frank has been diagnosed and treated twice for cancer – the first time, in 1998, when he was diagnosed with neck cancer, and given just two years to live; then in 2007, with prostate cancer, which, again, was treated successfully.

Frank believes that the Lazarus Community Forum will be a powerful way for cancer patients to express their thoughts and feelings on their condition both for themselves and, importantly, for those more recent patients.

Currently there are stories posted from cancer patients in Kildare, Dublin, Wicklow, Roscommon and Tipperary.

“The idea for the forum came from listening to cancer patients on social occasions during their stay on the LARCC Residential weeks,” says Frank. “I heard some brave and uplifting stories and some sad ones too.

“My sincere hope is that the forum will open doors otherwise shut to ordinary cancer patients, and empower them to express their thoughts and feelings on their condition both for themselves and, importantly, for those more recent patients.”

The Forum can be found at which is the website of Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC.

LARCC is the only cancer support centre in Ireland that runs a residential programme. LARCC opened in November 2002 and was the inspiration and design of the late Ita Bourke from Templemore, County Tipperary, who after being diagnosed with cancer, travelled to an established centre in England for therapy and support.

Ita saw a great need in Ireland for a similar service and she made it her driving ambition to set up a cancer support centre.

LARCC is open to all cancer patients and their families and since it was established more than 20,000 individual sessions of support and telephone counselling have been delivered by the team at LARCC.

LARCC is a registered charity (No. 14959) and is mainly funded through donations and contributions from the public.