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Helen Sandison

I joined the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative in November 2017, at the very beginning of the project, but at the end of years of hard work by the determined Trustees.  I started with only a pencil in my hand, but with thanks to Third Sector Hebrides, the Trustees and I got straight into setting up the WICCI office and launching the Social Fund, which opened in February 2018.

My background is in Community Development and the Voluntary Sector, working previously as a community development officer with various organisations in the Lochs area.  I am from Lochs originally, and returned home over 10 years ago to raise our family.  We built our house in South Lochs and have lived there ever since.  In my spare time I am a part time crofter, working with a small flock of sheep and running our croft in Habost.

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Caroline Maciver

I joined WICCI in January 2022, I am involved in lots of community voluntary organisations including being a Children’s Panel member, the chair of the Nicolson Institute Parent Council and the treasurer of Swim Western Isles. My background is in Rural Development but I have had time off raising my family and living overseas in Azerbaijan and Indonesia. We are settled back at home in Stornoway and enjoying being close to our families again. It’s very rewarding to be working at WICCI and with the trustees who are so committed to supporting people on their cancer journey.

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Lorraine Sloan – Macmillan Cancer Support representative

As the Macmillan Cancer Support charity trustee, it is an honour to be part of the WICCI group and to have seen the passion and commitment of the team to help those affected by cancer throughout the Western Isles. I joined UK Macmillan in 2002 whilst living and working in London, before relocating to rural Perthshire in 2012 with my husband and two young daughters.  In 2017, I took up the post of Strategic Partnership Manager for the North of Scotland, with accountability for Macmillan’s investments across the North of Scotland and the island communities. I also have a specialist interest in workforce, primary care, patient experience and remote & rural issues. I have over 30 years’ experience working in the healthcare industry including private sector and pharmaceutical industry and have a Masters degree in Health & Social Care Management (specialising in Quality Improvement).

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Donald Macleod

My name is Donald Macleod and I’m currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI). I come from the Point District of Lewis but have lived in Stornoway for the past 15 years.

Prior to retirement I worked for Highlands and Islands Enterprise for nearly 20 years, mainly dealing with small business and community development. Since retirement I have maintained my interest in community development and continue to serve as a committee member with several local organisations.

Four years ago, I was invited to join a steering Group set up by the Isle of Lewis Macmillan Cancer Support Committee to investigate the possibility of setting up a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland to address the specific issues faced by Cancer patients and their families in the Western Isles.

In February 2017 on the recommendation of the Steering Group and with support from Macmillan Cancer Support, WICCI was registered as a Charity.

It is a privilege to serve as Chairman of the organisation in its formative stages and work with a group of dedicated volunteer Trustees to further the aims and objectives of this unique partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland.

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Mabel Macleay

I was born in Glasgow of Lewis parents; my mum from Back and my dad from New Tolsta. We moved back to live in Lewis when I was about 8. I am married to John and live in Stornoway. I work for the Care & Repair project in Tighean Innse Gall. In 1991, I joined the MacMillan Cancer Support committee and I have been a fundraiser for them ever since. One of the highlights for us was when we learned that we had raised over £1 million since the committee started and this money has helped to support many in our community who have been given a cancer prognosis.   I am really proud of what we have achieved in setting up the new WICCI service, in partnership with MacMillan Cancer Support, and honoured to be a co-founder trustee. This is the first time this has been undertaken.

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Don Maclean

My name is Don MacLean, I’m married to Pat, and living in Knock, Point.  Before retiring I was employed as Outdoor Learning Manager with the Comhairle’s Sport & Health Section.

The 12th November 2013 is a date that will always stick in my mind. It was on this date that I was told that I had stomach cancer. To say I was in shock is an understatement. I was just two weeks into retirement and that was not what I had imagined retirement to look like! I was very lucky to have successful surgery and chemotherapy to treat the cancer.

Very soon after I was diagnosed, I received a letter/invitation from the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group, informing me of their support and meeting times.  It was only after I had gone through chemotherapy I decided to go.  I wish I had gone earlier though.  I have found going to the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group to be beneficial, very supportive and feel it has benefited my recovery both physically and psychologically.

Since then I have become an active member of the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group as Secretary and now as Vice-Chair.  It is a wonderful group, meeting every Friday but providing support and friendship at any time.

I was also involved for 3 years in the Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland Involvement Group – to try and demonstrate and communicate some of the issues associated with living with a cancer diagnosis when living in a remote community.

I never would have imagined my retirement looking like this! But in many respects my skills and knowledge gained in my working career have been instrumental in my new mission to help as many people as I can through their cancer journey, hopefully trying to make it a little easier as they go through treatment.

I joined WICCI in 2019 and have enjoyed contributing to the project and being a link between the Hebridean Men’s Group and WICCI.


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Christina MacIver

My name is Christina MacIver and I’m one of the trustees of WICCI. I live in Point with my husband and our two children. I’ve lived in Point for almost 27 years and work as a Learning Support assistant in Sgoil an Rubha.

I’ve been involved with the local Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising group for many years. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with Macmillan, I’ve met some lovely people and been to so many great events over the years, organised by the committee and other groups and organisations. The support MacMillan has in the islands is huge and we are so appreciative of that support. I’m proud to be a part of a great committee who were recognised by Macmillan as Committee of the Year in 2014 as we’ve raised over £1 million in over 40 years.

I joined the committee after seeing the support our MacMillan nurse gave us as a family in the months before my father passed away.

During fundraising events we would be approached by people who would tell us the difficulties of being away from home during their cancer treatment, mainly the expense of being off island for days, weeks and in some instances, months. With this in mind we approached MacMillan to see what could be done. Although this process took a few years,  I am so delighted that we are at the point of receiving applications and helping people ease the financial burden of their cancer journey.

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Andrew Sim

I was a consultant surgeon for 29 years, latterly in the Western Isles Hospital. My particular areas of interest was in large bowel disease, so much of my surgical work was with patients with colorectal cancer. I was the Lead Clinician for cancer for NHS Western Isles and the Lead Clinician for the Western Isles large bowel cancer screening programme. Having worked in the NHS with patients suffering from cancer, I recognised that in addition to the difficulties faced from the disease itself, other problems arise. Some of these relate to the remote and rural environment we live in, many of these problems can be helped with financial support. WICCI is designed to provide help for people and their families at a time when they need it, and this community based philanthropy is something that makes a real difference.

I have developed specific and particular interest in how health care services are delivered to remote and rural communities. I have also served on a number of Scottish Government working groups producing reports on hospital services in the more isolated areas of the country.
I am the President of the Rotary Club of Stornoway and the Secretary of the Isle of Lewis Probus Club.
I have significant experience in Project Management, having been involved in a number of local and international projects.

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Iain Macaulay

Brought up in the crofting village of Sollas, North Uist. Now retired from a career in social work after working for Strathclyde Regional Council, Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility and Comhairle nan Eilean. Now living in Upper Coll, married with two children and one grand daughter. Cancer has affected my family, friends and colleagues over many years and I have also seen its impact on others through my social work career. These experiences make me very keen to give my support to the great work of WICCI and Macmillan.

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Jessie Murray

I live in Sandwick. I am now retired, having worked as a librarian for many years in the Lothians, and since returning to  Lewis, at Lews Castle College. My interest in MacMillan Cancer Support grew after seeing the care a close friend received from MacMillan nurses, and I have been a member of the local MCS fund-raising team for over 20 years. It is so good to see WICCI now established and providing a service directly in response to local need with a minimum of formalities.

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