The History of the Facefax Association Charity
The organisation dates back to 1999 when Carol Dunstone mentioned to her Maxillofacial Consultant at Northampton General Hospital, Mr Clive Pratt that she felt there was a lack of immediate contact and back-up for patients like herself, on their journey towards recovery. He suggested that Carol may find it beneficial to meet another of his patients with similar sentiments.
Arrangements were made by Sister Jane Bradley, the Maxillofacial Clinical Nurse Specialist for Carol to meet Valerie Johal. They immediately discovered many similarities between their personal experiences of cancer and decided to form a Support Group. Mr Pratt and Sister Bradley both encouraged this venture which aimed to assist others recovering from head, neck, face and mouth cancer.
“The Facefax Support Group was established when it became apparent that many patients were seeking additional support on their journey towards recovery from cancer.”
By 2001 the Support Group was well established and a growing number of patients regularly gathered together on a monthly basis. The meetings were facilitated by Sister Bradley and members shared issues of concern including social difficulties arising from their treatment.
They discussed various coping strategies, post-operative situations such as temporary loss of speech, difficulties swallowing and eating, and problems relating to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The success of the Facefax Support Group led its members to consider applying for charitable status. Gordon Chandler, a Group member, volunteered to become the secretary and set into motion the formal procedures that succeeded in the organisation becoming a registered charity on 22nd September 2005.
Around the same time Anne Hicks, the newly appointed Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Maxillofacial Unit, Northampton General Hospital, agreed to become Chair Person and maintained this position until November 2016.
Another influential member of the group, who had a significant role in the evolution of the charity was Ann Bennett.
Formerly a holistic therapist, Ann first attended the Support Group in 2004 where she met Carol Dunstone and they became firm friends.