OUR STORY

 

How it all started

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Jo Sutherland was aged only 31 when she found a lump and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  The following nine months were filled with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and an endless schedule of appointments. 

Jo recalled, “As soon as you find a lump you think the worst but the diagnosis still comes as quite a shock.”

Even though Jo was kept very busy for that time she says she did feel a great sense of loneliness throughout her treatment. “You can’t go on holiday, you have to stay away from sick people, public transport. All your friends are carrying on as normal while you are at home waiting for appointments and not really feeling well enough to do anything.”

Luckily Jo, has now been in remission for 10 years but she says “cancer has completely changed my life”. Jo was fully supported during my cancer treatment by the hospital and specialist nurses, however even after she finished her treatment she felt a sense of loss, not missing the cancer but missing all the people that helped her through her course of treatment.

In 2014 Jo was chatting to some friends about how lovely it would be to have somewhere to go so they didn’t feel quite so lost.

 – and Charlie’s was born.


 

"Charlie’s is that friend on the sofa you can have a chat with when you are facing tough times” - Jo Sutherland (Charlie's Founder)

 

How it developed

Charlie's started as a monthly group in Quedgeley, this was when Kate Farminer came on board with Whispa her therapy dog.

There was a clear need for the therapies and support provided by Charlie's as evidenced by its quick growth. Jo and Kate found that more space was needed to help support the growing Charlie's community.

In 2015 Charlie's moved into new premises at Madleaze Trading Estate which enabled Jo and Kate to further develop the reach and support offered. The group runs knitting get-togethers, coffee mornings, craft activities and various therapies to support those with cancer, those in remission, their families and Carers.

Jo believes “Medication has its place and without it I wouldn’t be here but I think cancer sufferers need something to run alongside that. I felt I needed someone to talk to. It had been a roller coaster ride for me and after nine months it stopped and suddenly I had nowhere to go."

“This is a safe haven where people can come along and talk about what they have been through or even just talk about something completely different.”

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Where it is going

We are excited for the future of Charlie's - we have that enviable combination of big plans, passion for our purpose and wonderful people.

Find out more about our how we plan grow Charlie's

Our Plan

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