Help is just one click away

  Feb 15, 2021 9:45 am Ibrar Younas 1359
THE Help Those with Cancer Association (Tulips) has launched a revamped website that promises to offer a “breath of fresh air” for cancer patients and their families by offering them support and assistance.

Help is just one click away

The new look website – – was officially launched on February 4 World Cancer Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. 

The website has “user-friendly” features, with a home page welcoming people with a field of yellow tulips.

It has a section on support and information for cancer patients and their families and how Tulips can help.

“Life changes immediately after hearing the words, ‘you have cancer’,” the website states.

“This will be one of the hardest battles you will encounter and our expat cancer support team will assist you every step of the way through your cancer treatment. . . irrespective of your nationality.”

Tulips provide practical and emotional support to the patient and families during and after the cancer treatment period. 

The English and Turkish language website has separate sections on breast and prostate cancers – the most common types of cancer for women and men in the TRNC, Tulips says – along with pages about the charity, fundraising, how to get involved, patient stories, frequently asked questions and a blog. 

Speaking to Cyprus Today, Sue Tilt of Tulips, said: “We have used the lockdown period to work hard behind the scenes and have produced a new, up-to-date, English and Turkish language website which we were able to launch on World Cancer Day.

“In addition to the website we have also launched our own Tulips app, which, when things get moving again, we will be able to use to keep everyone easily up to date with what is happening.”

The application can be downloaded from

The Tulips website makeover was carried out for free by Turkey-based Elite Web Design based “after they approached us with the idea for a new website, which we gratefully accepted” Mrs Tilt said.

“The new website is absolutely wonderful, professional,” she said.

“We launched the new website on World Cancer Day. . . We understand and appreciate how a patient feels after receiving a diagnosis, and the home page prominently offers contact information and assistance.

“Tulips is not in a position to provide financial assistance due to the lockdown but what we can do is save money for the patient by offering guidance, advice and saving money on equipment purchasing, taking the stress out of appointments, etc. Patients can use us as a contact point in any way they wish.

“We have many [patients] who have put forward their own personal stories about their cancer treatment and help from Tulips. There are plenty of us who have made it to the other side.”

Referring to the web page on prostate cancer, Mrs Tilt said. “After the [first] lockdown ended last May, we were inundated with calls from men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“The problem is that, because people are worried about catching Covid-19, they are concerned about visiting a hospital for check-ups.

“A webinar recently held by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) – which was also attended by Tulips representing the TRNC – concluded that people were less inclined to go to hospital because of fears of contracting Covid-19. 

“But this [delay] gives way to a more intense [cancer] treatment period, which is more costly, and impacts on general mortality. It has impacted on preventative programmes.”

Mrs Tilt said that Tulips, ever since its establishment in 1993 by chair Raziye Kocaismail, has built up a reputation not only in the TRNC but also worldwide. Tulips is now a member of Middle East Cancer Consortium, the European Cancer Patient Coalition, and the Union for International Cancer Control.

She said Tulips is “representing the TRNC worldwide in different global cancer organisations, because the TRNC is not recognised, and Tulips has been able to participate as a civil organisation”.

“Following our participation in an ESMO event online about a month ago, which also had World Health Organization officials present, we were able to present a report to the TRNC Health Ministry over the findings, which advises governments to put cancer patients in a high priority group for vaccination,” Mrs Tilt said.

“We are pleased that the ministry reciprocated and has agreed to vaccinate cancer patients aged over 65 and are making their way to lower age groups respectively.”

Cancer rates are “continuing to increase” in North Cyprus, Mrs Tilt said, but “unfortunately there is no scientific study that can tell us why this is happening, so we do not have exact figures”.

There are approximately 700 new cancer cases in the TRNC every year, Mrs Tilt stated, with younger patients starting to make up a larger proportion.

“Originally when Tulips was set . . . most of the cancer patients were in the over-60 age group,” she said.

“What has started to happen is that this age group is dropping – in other words the number of new cancer patients is the same as it has been for the last 12 to 24 months but we are getting more people in their 30s and 40s.

“Due to the pandemic there have been no [new] statistics issued by the government so no research can be done to ascertain why this is happening.”


Sue Tilt: “I had never heard of Tulips when I was diagnosed”

WHEN I was diagnosed with cancer in October 2010 I had never heard of Tulips, nor had many other expat cancer patients at that time. I was lucky my friend Carole had and took me along to see Raziye Kocaismail who has been the chairperson of this fantastic organisation since its inception in 1993.

After getting over the initial feeling of panic, the sense of relief was overwhelming to find someone, and an organisation, that understood what I needed and took the worry away from me trying to find my way around a system that was alien to me and a language that I could not speak. Before I knew, it all my appointments were made followed by my prescriptions being collected and my drugs waiting for me at the hospital ready for each treatment.

So please ring Tulips if you or someone needs help and guidance, they are there to support you.

I have since forged a wonderful friendship that will last forever with Raziye and Tulips. As many of you know, I will continue to support with fundraising events and in any other way that I can.

I can’t thank Tulips enough for how they helped both myself and my husband at a time when we most needed it.


Terry Purser: “Tulips so supportive and helpful at a time when we felt alone”

IN 2018 my wife Sally and I had the biggest shock of our lives; I was diagnosed with Melanoma and Lymphoma.

We were trying to come to terms with this horrible disease and our thoughts were, how are we going to cope? The thoughts of selling up and going back to the UK had crossed our minds.

We knew about the Tulips charity, as Sally had raised money for the charity two years previously, we said at the time “one day we may need help” we certainly were not thinking that it would be us.

We got in touch with Tulips and they were so supportive and helpful, at the time we felt all alone but Tulips gave us a purpose.

They are always there to help, they helped in collecting the drugs from the state pharmacy and delivered them to the hospital for my treatment, every three weeks and then every eight weeks for two years, Tulips also provided a translator to overcome the language barrier.

During the lockdown Tulips were very efficient making sure everything ran smoothly, trying for us not to get out of a routine.

We have 10 words that describe Tulips to us: Offers comfort and aid to others in times of need.


Barbara Willbye: How Did Tulips Help Me?

TULIPS helped me by just being there, knowing there was somewhere I could go for advice on doctors, medication, answering my questions, accompanying me on appointments and giving the support that as a cancer patient we need, by people who understand the impact cancer has on our families lives as well as our own. Thank you Tulips for your continued support


Tulips chairman: “Cancer main cause of death in TRNC”

CANCER is the leading cause of death in the TRNC, the head of the Help Those with Cancer Association (Tulips) has said.

Raziye Kocaismail said that cancer cases can be reduced by “raising awareness of cancer, early diagnosis, prevention and protection”. 

In her message to mark February 4 World Cancer Day Mrs Kocaismail said that Tulips has been a “full member” of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) for 21 years.

The aim of Tulips is to “support research, prevent cancer with early diagnosis, improve the centres where patients go” she said, and help save the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer “regardless of their ethnic origin, income level or where they live and which country they are from”.

Stating that governments should develop cancer policies and make investments, Mrs Kocaismail said: “As in the rest of the world, cancer issues and cancer patients have been left in the background in our country due to the pandemic. 

“Even in the most developed countries, as in our own country, there has been disruption to check-ups and treatment from time to time due to problems [obtaining] medication and patients’ concerns about going to the hospital.

“In our small country patients’ problems . . . can be monitored more closely, but the state and government officials should pay attention to how those struggling as cancer patients are affected by the difficulties posed by the pandemic.

“While we cannot provide financial aid to patients as much as in the past, we will suggestions for improvements to the Health Minister.”


How to contact the Tulips Expat Division

Chairperson: Raziye Kocaismail 0542 853 1121

Expat Fundraiser & Project Manager: Sue Tilt 0542 854 8714

Expat Cancer Support Worker: Louise Duffield 0548 870 2276 

Expat Counsellor/Liaison Worker: Pınar Alp 0542 882 0023

Lambousa Stall: Lynda Hillard 0533 873 1693