CHARITY Kent Charity Profile: THE HARMONY THERAPY TRUST GOING THROUGH TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS IS A NECESSARY BUT USUALLY DEEPLY UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE. THE HARMONY THERAPY TRUST (THTT), BASED ON THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY, IS THERE TO HELP PEOPLE GOING THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT TIMES. THIS MONTH, insideKENT’S LISAMARIE LAMB SPOKE TO FOUNDER, DAWN COCKBURN, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO. 162 What is it that The Harmony Therapy Trust does? Why is the work that The Harmony Therapy Trust does so important? It provides free supportive and therapeutic therapy as part of integrated healthcare, to Kent NHS patients living with cancer or other serious chronic life-altering illnesses. These Kent patients are referred to us by hospitals, hospices and GPs throughout Kent (and other London hospitals) for us to provide emotional and wellbeing support using either touch therapies like reflexology and massage, through to the talking therapies such as counselling, stress management, hypnotherapy and bereavement support. With more than 100 self-employed and voluntary therapists registered with us throughout the county, no matter in what region of Kent a patient referred to us lives, we can match them fairly closely to a therapist in their postcode area. When you are diagnosed with a serious life- altering illness, worry and uncertainty permeates day-to-day life despite the fact that our wonderful doctors and nurses work hard to ensure treatment and recovery with research improving all the time to find cures. The treatments THTT offer are gentle, relaxing, non-invasive and supportive. We are also a listening ear. It’s now widely accepted within the NHS that emotional wellbeing and learning to relax can greatly assist recovery and/or support the patient during some of their darkest times. Our NHS system, with all the demands upon it, simply do not have time nor resources to rise to this challenge of integrated healthcare and this is where charities like THTT play a vital role. It costs the Trust only £100 to provide six free treatments as the therapists provide their services at a rate far below commercial fees, and also donate one treatment in every six totally free of charge. Several provide their services for no fee at all. What is the charity’s history? I was inspired by The Sara Lee Trust, a charity working out of St Michaels Hospice in Hastings. This charity supported her late sister Sylvia with therapy during her cancer journey, and during the many drives back and forth from Sheppey to Fairlight (East Sussex) in early spring 2010 to assist Sylvia, I had time to reflect on why there was nothing similar available in Kent. I drew a group of friends together, told them what I wanted to do and on 5th May 2010 THTT was born on Sheppey.