HOW IT ALL STARTED
Jo Sutherland – I was aged only 31 when I found a lump and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. As soon as you find a lump you think the worst but the diagnosis still comes as quite a shock. The following nine months were filled with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and an endless schedule of appointments.
I was blessed with amazing support from my family and friends, but once you get into a routine of appointments, everyone else goes back to their lives understandably. I felt that my family could of done with some emotional support but at the time there was nothing available.
My sense of loss came after all my appointments had come to an end, your initially elated as you’ve reached the end, but you are not sure what to do next, not sure who you are without the cancer (it defines you for a while) and returning to work felt so frightening. I was not the same person, cancer had changed me.
Over the next couple of years, I left my job and retrained as a Holistic Therapist specialising in Reiki something I had always had an interest in. Reiki really helped me to understand who I was again and find inner peace.
In 2014 I was chatting to some friends about how lovely it would be to have somewhere to go so others didn’t feel quite so lost. So in March 2014 Charlie’s opened its first session………….
I have now been in remission for 13 years but “cancer completely changed my life”. But my life changed for the better, leading me to opening Charlie’s to help others cope with the effects of living with cancer.
“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 with the support of Paul Mount in March 2014. The monthly meetings were busy, there was a clear need for the therapies and support provided by Charlie’s as evidenced by its quick growth.
With the support of Paul he kindly offered us his unit on Madleaze Road in Gloucester. In March 2015 Charlie’s moved into new premises at Unit 2 Madleaze Rd, which enabled us to further develop the reach and support offered.
Opening the Unit 3 days a week, every Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday offering a range of holistic therapies/exercise classes/art classes and more importantly friendship and support.
But again our space was limited with only 2 therapy rooms, we then went on to extend the premises in March 2017 with 4 more Therapy rooms, and a fitness suite, enabling us to offer more therapies and exercise classes.
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© Charlies |2018