Leading Northern Ireland telecoms group Barclay Communications has launched a new charity partnership with Cancer Focus NI in a bid to boost funding for those affected by the life-changing illness.
It’s an initiative with a very personal edge for the company and its employees. One of its longest-serving employees has been on a cancer journey and relied on the support of the Belfast-based cancer charity.
Alejandro Segura-Martyniuk, the firm’s Head of Systems & Sales Administration, was diagnosed with a type of tongue cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma in 2020. Following intensive treatment, he’s now in recovery but pays tribute to the support he received from Cancer Focus….at a time when he needed it most.
“It can be really hard to know where to turn following diagnosis,” says Alejandro, a Venezuelan native now living in Northern Ireland. “I remember going home after being told I had cancer and just sitting with my family wondering what to do next.
“One of the first things we did was to pick up the phone to Cancer Focus and their support kicked in from day one right through, from personal advice to practical help like providing regular transport to and from hospital treatment sessions.
“The services provided are very beneficial for the patient, the caregiver, and the family. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it affects more than just the individual. The reality is that the entire family feels the impact.
“Cancer Focus NI has helped to alleviate and handle the pressure put on everyone. Nurse Line has helped us to answer any questions we have and deal with financial concerns. The family support service has helped us to navigate the difficult situation of explaining to younger members of the family and provided coping strategies for the disruption this type of illness brings.
“There are many more services and what has been most beneficial to me has been the recovery process. As well as the actual medical treatment received, the on-going support and guidance offered by Cancer Focus NI has been life changing. Thanks to charities like these, patients and families have a better journey through this rough process.”
On his return to work, Alejandro suggested that Barclay Communications might want to help him support the charity, and Founder & Managing Director Britt Megahey didn’t hesitate. He’s pledged to support Cancer Focus throughout 2023 and across a wide range of staff and company initiatives, aiming to raise £10,000 for the local charity, helping towards its £4million fundraising goal.
“We’ve seen first hand how the work of Cancer Focus NI has helped Alejandro and his family through counselling, providing information or just being an ear to listen at times.
“Alejandro has been a part of Barclay’s for over 10 years and is a valued member of the team We are delighted to hear that he has received a “clear” diagnosis and is on the way to remission. Having seen the impact of such a life-changing disease and how Cancer Focus NI provide much needed services to support people in Northern Ireland, we made the decision to nominate them as our charity partner of the year. “
As well as being the beneficiary of the firm’s charity efforts, Cancer Focus NI is also avails of a variety of Barclay services including an IT support package, a managed mobile estate and Microsoft Teams integration.
“We rely heavily on robust telecoms infrastructure to provide our vital patient support services,” says Richard Spratt, Cancer Focus NI Chief Executive. “It’s imperative that we have reliable systems which allows us to grow our services. Recently, the team at Barclays suppled and installed landline services at all 12 of our retail sites across Northern Ireland, this included Microsoft Teams integrations. We also utilise the businesses IT support and managed mobile services. Managing all our communications with one reliable supplier has been much easier.”
The local charity has been instrumental for over 50 years in reducing the devastating impact of cancer on both patients and their families. As well as supporting patients, the charity offers services including cancer prevention programmes to help people lessen their risk of getting cancer, as well as funding scientific research into the causes and treatment of the disease.
Cancer Focus also has a large team of volunteer drivers who give up their time to ferry cancer patients back and forth from hospital appointments.
“For us, this is part of what we do to give back to the community. We look to partner with organisations that have supported our employees. Throughout the years we have helped raise funds for Myeloma UK, Helping Hands, Family with Ups and Downs, PIPs and more,” says Britt Megahey. “We currently support the communication needs of over 40% of charities in Northern Ireland and we will be launching some exciting initiatives for these customers this year that will hopefully help towards their funding. Our staff are very much involved in fundraising with an internal committee to manage all activities. Money raised throughout 2023 will go towards research funding, facilities upkeep and continuing to offer free services to patients.”
To help launch its fundraising initiatives, Barclay Communications has 21 employees taking part in the 2023 Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon at the end of April. 20 people will make up 4 relay teams as well as one individual running the full 26.2-mile race. The teams have set a joint fundraising goal of £2,000 for the event.
“We are delighted that Barclay Communications has chosen us as its charity of the year,” adds Richard Spratt. “Corporate partnerships play an integral part in our charity’s fundraising and help us raise the vital funds needed to continue to deliver free services to people in Northern Ireland impacted by cancer. It is humbling to know that our charity was there for Alejandro and his family when they needed support and I look forward to meeting more of the team from Barclays throughout the year as they take part in a range of our fundraising events.”
Meanwhile, on the business front, Barclays 128-strong team is busier than usual assisting business customers to prepare for the big ISDN switch off. All of the old copper-based networks along with the ISDN infrastructure will be turned off entirely by 2025, and plenty of organisations out there still need help and support to bring systems up to date.