Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

The first meeting: a story from Dorset

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Several weeks ago I joined one of our new volunteers on their initial meeting with their new advocacy partner. This was to be a new experience for both of us. We met at the agreed time outside the property, both a little apprehensive as to what we would face and how we would manage/cope. However, both keen to get started we ventured inside. Introductions were made, and roles explained.

It was clear from the start that the volunteer was a natural, a genuinely nice person, showing empathy and quickly gaining rapport with his partner. Not really needed I sat back and observed the conversation develop. I was privileged to witness the real power of peer to peer advocacy at its best, and why this project is so valuable…

It was clear that the advocacy partner felt very unwell following recent treatment, and despondent about his prospects for recovery. The advocate gently acknowledged that he wouldn’t feel well after the events of the past few weeks, “as I felt the same for months afterwards, and that was 10 years ago; and now look at me!” (He is the picture of good health). The transformation was amazing, it was as if someone had switched a light back on inside this elderly gentleman. The rest of that first meeting was spent planning what next…

The gentleman continues to be much more positive about the future.

Dorset Cancer Advocacy

Dorset Cancer Advocacy

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Author: Marie McWilliams

OPAAL's National Development Officer

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