By now COVID 19 is affecting is affecting all of our lives. We are now living in unprecedented times, with high levels of stress and uncertainty across all of society. Having access to clear and reliable advice can help you better manage this situation. There are supports and information out there. We have gathered here some reliable information and listed some of the supports available to you.

What is COVID 19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, high temperature, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. If you develop symptoms you will need to self isolate and phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone.

For further information on the virus, and how to protect yourself and others from its spread, visit the HSE website.

Cocooning Guidance for Cancer Patients

The government has recommended that vulnerable groups, including the over 70s and those that have serious underlying conditions such as certain cancers, need to cocoon themselves and minimise their interaction with people both within and outside of their homes to protect themselves from contracting coronavirus. Full details of the recommendations are available here

COVID-19 Guidance for extremely medically vulnerable

For further information on how the illness affects people with experience of cancer the Irish Cancer Society and the Marie Keating Foundation have a lot of useful information. See links below.

Irish Cancer Society – COVID 19 and Cancer

Marie Keating Foundation – Information on COVID-19 for cancer patients and their families

Reliable sources of information.

Right now it is really important that we get our information from reliable sources. As we have seen over the last few weeks there is so much incorrect information popping up everywhere. Please make sure that you check the source of the information before believing it! Here are some sources we recommend that will provide reliable information.

HSE – General COVID 19 information

HSE – COVID-19 coronavirus for cancer patients and their families/carers 

World Health Organisation – General COVID 19 information

Cancelling 221+ events

Given the potential impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) may have on cancer patients we decided to cancel all upcoming 221+ meetings and events. This decision has been made to protect the health of our members, and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus more generally. We do understand though that we are taking away a very important support in our member’s lives and we did not undertake the decision lightly.

Keeping Connected

There are many services available out there for people to connect remotely and we intend to use these to keep our members connected.

Any events that have been cancelled will be run as remote events online where possible. We will send information on how this will work out to members as soon as we can.

We also understand that not everyone in Ireland has access to reliable broadband! So to try and work around this we are setting up a text service for our members – information on this to follow also in the next week.

Available Supports

We also would like to remind members of the 221+ supports that are already available and encourage you to use them fully. We are always at the end of the phone if you have an immediate worry that you need to talk about – if we don’t answer please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we can.

  • Our numbers are +353 1 2316 683 or +353 1 2316 648
  • We are also available by email
  • If you have any medical questions please remember to use the Ask The Specialist option in the member section of the website.
  • And please remember that as members you have access to the members forum. This is a great place to connect with your fellow members.

Resources for coping with life in a pandemic.

There are resources out there to help during this time of need.

  • The Irish Cancer Society has extended its Cancer Nurseline opening hours during coronavirus. For free, confidential advice and support for any type of cancer on Freephone 1800 200 700 or by email
  • Mindfulness Ireland are holding daily online Mindfulness sessions to help people through this time:
  • Dr Paul Dalton has outlined some techniques to deal with anxiety during COVID-19 which are on the Irish Cancer Society’s website here
  • Professor Ciaran O’Boyle also has describe how we can cope with COVID-19 anxiety here 
  • The Irish Hospice Foundation has just published a resource on Grieving in Exceptional Times here