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Launch of a new magazine by and for the cancer community

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The national integrative cancer care charity Yes to Life have combined forces with Artlift, the pioneering Gloucestershire-based Arts on Prescription provider, to produce a new magazine ‘Flourish’ by and for people living with or beyond cancer.

The magazine will be looking at natural ways to deal with common side effects of cancer treatment – this first magazine has the theme ‘Nourish’ and is now free to download from: https://yestolife.org.uk/flourish-magazine/ There will also be a limited number of printed copies available at oncology departments and other sites across Gloucestershire.

Philip Booth, who is part of Yes to Life’s Stroud Wigwam Cancer Support Group said: “The magazine is all about helping to change the conversations around cancer, to tackle taboo topics and share experiences to help people feel less alone. We had lots of interest and had to whittle down the many submissions of artwork, photography, writing and film from people living with or beyond cancer. I think it looks stunning and makes for an inspiring – and sometimes challenging read.”

The Flourish Magazine idea is funded by Big Lottery’s Awards for All to Artlift and supported by Macmillan Cancer Support and Gloucestershire Health and Care. It has emerged from Artlift’s Flourish Arts on Prescription programme, and Yes to Life’s Wigwam Cancer support groups.

Former Flourish participant and Steering Group member Annie Gotts said: “Using creativity alongside conventional cancer therapies has allowed me to feel like a whole person again, rather than just a patient. I want to help more people in Gloucestershire to share the benefits of incorporating creativity into their lives through the magazine.”

Creative Editor, Natalie Beech added: “When I began work on the magazine, it was clear to me that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to cancer and that it was important the content of the magazine reflected this. A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment for all involved, its impact rippling beyond the person receiving it to our friends, family and colleagues, but how we feel and respond to it will be different for each individual. Whether it’s a support group, a massage, exercise, food or a creative activity like art or writing, cancer in all its bleakness can offer the opportunity to discover how best to nourish ourselves through difficult times.

“Through an open call for submissions on this theme, we painstakingly whittled them down to this final selection, which features everything from the hilarious to the heartbreaking, because of course, how we experience cancer is as complex and unique as we are. Some of the pieces are therefore challenging and we felt it was important not to shy away from this, but have provided content warnings so that readers can choose what they feel able to engage with.”

If you are interested in contributing creatively or supporting the future sustainability of this much-needed new venture, giving people with cancer and those supporting them a voice, please contact Flourish Magazine’s Editor Natalie Beech at flourish.mag@artlift.org

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