Our President and founder, Tom Brown, is currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer and as his time is now quite rightly focused on this treatment; he has decided to step down from his role as a Trustee of Being There.
He will, however, in his own words “always retain a great interest in what we do” and he is happy to retain the title of Being There’s President.
I have been asked to write a few words about Tom who had the wonderful idea to start the organisation that has evolved through a couple of incarnations to become Being There as we know it today.
It’s well documented that Tom developed the idea for a telephone support line in the early 1980’s because he found the emotional side of coping with his cancer isolating and difficult to handle. Quite frankly, how patients managed with the emotional impact of being diagnosed and treated for cancer was not really too well considered or understood by the medical establishment at the time and Tom’s astute identification of the gap in provision showed how much it was needed by the response of people wanting to get involved and help. Once launched, the client take-up was soon forthcoming.
Tom’s wise counsel has help to steer us through the change from an organisation supporting people with cancer to encompass other life limiting illnesses along with a substantial expansion of the support we could offer as we evolved mostly as a result of listening to and taking notice of the needs of our clients from those early days of the Listening Line, through to today and beyond.
Tom is a gentle and self-effacing man, giving credit to people around him and no doubt will probably say that he didn’t do it all on his own. Whilst that might be so he did gather the people around him, the professionals and the volunteers, to enable it all to get going. Without Tom’s insight and experiences it would never have been conceived; without his enthusiasm and input it would never have got going and developed into the organisation we have today. Not content to rest on his laurels, in 1985 Tom helped set up the National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups and worked as its organiser for seven years.
I know there are many Volunteers and Clients who know Tom and will wish him well. He has set up a Blog to record his experiences as he goes through his treatment at the Christie and is happy for anyone who might be interested to register at https://tbprog.co.uk/wp if they would like to follow his progress.
On behalf of everyone at Being There may I thank Tom for his long service and dedication.
Eddie Hurst – Trustee