Cancer support group founder dies

Woman in spectacles in front of blue background
Cancer Support France founder Linda Shepherd

Linda Shepherd was ‘an inspiration to us all’ and her work has helped thousands

Cancer Support France founder, Linda Shepherd, has died at the age of 64 following her own battle with cancer.

She founded the charity in 2002 in Poitou-Charentes after she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer shortly after she moved to France. She praised the extensive treatment she went through but found she needed to talk to someone about her fears and worries in her mother tongue.

Her French doctor, Prof Alain Daban, CHU Poitiers head of the radiotherapy department at the time, encouraged her as he was aware of the need for a support group for the growing number of English-speaking cancer patients.

In the 15 years since then, CSF has helped around 2,000 people and the charity has grown so much that a national association was created to support the network of 15 affiliated, but independent, associations throughout France.

It trains volunteers who give practical help, information and emotional support adapted to the individual needs of the cancer patients themselves, but also to their carers, families and those closest to them.

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When she stepped down as president in 2014 Mrs Shepherd’s work for British residents in France was recognised with an invitation to a garden party at the Paris British Residence for the Queen’s birthday and then an invitation from President Hollande to a State Banquet at the Elysée Palace.

By that time her cancer had come back but she continued to play an active part in CSF, even doing her last session as a trainer at her local group, CSF Haute-Vienne, last month although very poorly.

CSF national president Penny Parkinson said: “It is Linda’s vision and determination which led to the creation and development of CSF. Her tireless support and the example of how she lived her own life with cancer is an inspiration to us all.

“Only last November she was able to attend and contribute to our Trainers’ Conference in Toulouse.

“Her legacy is that the organisation she created is now helping anglophone people touched by cancer across a large part of France.”

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