Jennifer Jones Hickey traveled from her home in Tipperary, Ireland to Cork City, an hour’s drive, for her grueling treatments for stage IV ovarian cancer. There, she also found much-needed support at The Girls Club, a group for cancer survivors.
Grateful for the benefits gained from her weekly club drop-ins, Jennifer decided to establish a similar group in her hometown, population: 4,415. Jennifer recruited volunteers, raised funds, found space and opened the doors to the Circle of Friends Cancer Support Centre in December 2013. The centre’s mission is to provide nonjudgmental support services to people affected by cancer in a safe and confidential environment, while respecting the dignity and worth of the individual.
Cancer survivors, their caregivers and families can stop by the centre for everything from a “cuppa” to one-on-one counseling, as well as a range of complementary therapies, such as reflexology, Reiki, acupuncture and Indian head massage. Currently confined to just three rooms in a local building, in the near future the centre will move to a new facility to be built on land for which the ever-tireless Jennifer lobbied town government.
“Jennifer is loved by all and approached many times a day,” says nominator Frances Howley. “Of course, it is draining, and every so often she will say to me ‘I forget I am sick, too and also need support.’ She will follow that with a loud laugh and her eyes light up.”
Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.