No one faces cancer alone.
To provide emotional support, practical help, well-being activities and a welcoming community in English to anyone affected by cancer.
- To be there for anyone affected by cancer, whether directly or indirectly, in a way that is supportive, non-judgmental and confidential
- To understand that everyone is unique and respond accordingly to their needs, whether through emotional support, wellness-promoting services and activities, information or practical help
- To provide an inclusive service for the region’s diverse population through support in English for anyone regardless of background or culture
- To empower those affected by cancer through being part of a warm, supportive community where people can connect, share and also contribute by volunteering
- To ensure that money is not a barrier to anyone having access to the support they need
People come to ESCA CancerSupport for many reasons: to deal with the initial shock of diagnosis, to cope with cancer treatments and side effects, to process with grief and bereavement and to deal with children, family, relationship and work issues. Treatment options have greatly improved, and mortality rates have greatly decreased. This means more people than ever are now living with cancer, working to rehabilitate and reintegrate both socially and professionally. The Tumour Registry in Geneva estimates, by 2030, there will be more than 40,000 people in Geneva living with cancer and more than 600,000 in Switzerland. With your support, we will continue to expand our cancer support network and offer help that is in English and accessible to everyone.
ESCA CancerSupport began as the English Speaking Cancer Support Group (ECSG) and was first formed in 1999 by an American who was living and working in Geneva when he was diagnosed with cancer. Having difficulty expressing himself in French, Mr. Faulkner approached his counsellor with the idea of setting up a support group for the English-speaking community. A group of six members began meeting in a local bookstore, and ECSG became a legal entity in 2000.
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 to spread: help was available in English for cancer patients and carers, and services were free. In 2004, for easier recognition, the name of the group became the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA) and in 2018, we became ESCA CancerSupport. We wanted a name that reflected what did: CancerSupport.
In 2020, on 4 February, which coincided with our 20th anniversary year and World Cancer Day, we opened the doors to our new ESCA CancerSupport Centre, the enhanced location we had always dreamed of. For the first time ever, we now have the potential to offer all our services and activities under one roof, in a calm, serene and confidential environment in the beautiful Château du Grand-Saconnex.
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, we have 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 CancerSupport 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.