Hurstpierpoint father sets up Cancervive after losing two wives to disease

Paul has set up Cancervive, a charity to anyone whose family or friends are cancer patients. Pic Steve Robards SUS-151002-144524001

Paul has set up Cancervive, a charity to anyone whose family or friends are cancer patients. Pic Steve Robards SUS-151002-144524001

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A father who lost two wives to cancer has set up a charity – sharing his own experience to help others.

Paul Huggett, of Western Road, Hurstpierpoint is the founder of cancer charity Cancervive.

Set up at his home in 2007, the charity provides counselling for family and friends of cancer patients and people who have lost loved ones.

“We are just people who have walked in the same shoes,” said Paul.

“Some people who have come to us have already had counselling but they tell us we have got it just right. You need people who can totally understand what it is like. We understand people have good days and bad days.”

The charity runs support groups, a telephone helpline and an online forum to extend the charity’s one-to-one counselling.

Paul lost two wives, Pam and Bridget, to breast cancer.

He is a certified Cruse counsellor but found the organisation’s guidelines would not allow him to share his experiences during sessions.

Realising there was a gap for personal experience counselling, he worked to get backing from MacMillan Cancer Support in Brighton which Paul said got Cancervive ‘on the motorway’.

“With my first wife I struggled,” said Paul.

“I told work I needed to take time out. I have two daughters.”

Paul said he was effectively given the choice to be sacked or to resign.

“With my second wife I had a palliative care nurse. She said you need to prepare yourself, even on the good days.”

Paul said the nurse even asked how the effects of his wives’ illnesses compared to each other.

“It was the last I saw of her,” he added.

Paul hopes to see the charity grow but needs help with administration, accounts and fundraising.

“It is like a nice family at the moment but we are looking for volunteers, preferably with business minds.

“The charity is always looking for volunteers, those who may have lost people to cancer or those who are cancer survivors.”

MP Nick Herbert visited Cancervive after Cancer Reasearch UK announced one in two people would be diagnosed with the disease.

“I was impressed with Paul’s dedication and his vision to provide the help which so many people need when their lives are touched by cancer,” he said.

“I hope Cancervive will receive the support it needs to help more people in the local community and I know that they would welcome volunteers to assist them.”