Consequently, in 1999 the English Speaking Cancer Support Group (ECSG) was formed and a group of six members began meeting in a local bookstore, The Bookworm.
In 2000, the ECSG became a legal entity under the presidency of Liz Rollinson-Phillips. Dedicated volunteers, working actively on cancer awareness campaigns and collaborating with the Geneva, Vaud and Swiss Cancer Leagues, began gaining support from local oncologists. The news started spreading: help was available in English for cancer patients and carers, and services were free.
In 2004, with the departure of Liz, Patsy Allen became president. Patsy, herself a nurse and breast cancer survivor, made it her mission to further improve services. For easier recognition, the name of the group became the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA).
In 2018, the decision was wisely made to change our name again to reflect what we’ve become known best for: ESCA CancerSupport.
Today, ESCA CancerSupport has expanded enormously and includes professional counselling, peer support by trained and supervised volunteers, art therapy, mindfulness, yoga, Pilates and gym class, as well as, breast cancer and bereavement support groups, specialised cancer-related workshops and more. In 2019, we provided over 7000 hours of service to over 200 people including 464 hours of 1:1 counselling, 3800 hours of structured support groups and workshops and almost 400 hours of peer support by trained and supervised volunteers. And in 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home recommendations, we rapidly scaled up our online services so that we can continue to support people remotely, even when physical meetings may not be possible.
Our services are in English but we welcome any and all nationalities. A Centre with trained volunteers and an information library welcomes visitors and provides a friendly and confidential space where they can find support.
With the generosity and fundraising efforts of the community, the highly appreciated support of our major donors, and our hugely successful annual Paddle for CancerSupport Dragon Boat Festival, we continue to expand our cancer support network and offer help that is year-round, free of charge, and accessible to everyone.
In 2020, on 4 February, which coincided with our 20th anniversary year and World Cancer Day, we opened the doors to the new ESCA CancerSupport Centre! Our dream had come true: the CancerSupport Centre we had always dreamed of. We are now able to offer our services and activities under one roof, in a calm, serene and confidential environment in the beautiful Château du Grand-Saconnex.
To receive support:
+41 (0) 22 723 22 31