Kathleen Gillett from Dorset Cancer Advocacy and I were at Macmillan’s Cancer Voices Conference over the weekend. Cancer Voices is the name Macmillan gives to the many people affected by cancer who become involved with Macmillan in giving something back; they’re trying to improve cancer care for others.
Kathleen and I presented a couple of workshops on Saturday morning, telling people about the Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project and were delighted with the response we got. Those who’ve been affected by cancer themselves totally “get it”; they understand why having an advocate can make such a difference. For us though it was as much about listening to the personal experiences of those we met and learning from them. We were humbled and inspired by those we talked to and we’d like to extend a very warm welcome to all of our new blog followers who signed up during the workshops.
As we approach the next stage in what has been until now a pilot project and seek to expand the provision of independent advocacy for older people affected by cancer and recruit more peer advocates we need to ensure we’re listening to the voices that matter most. Our future plans include making short films of real life stories which we hope will have the impact that us just talking about our work can never have. We’re especially keen to show these films to health professionals to encourage them to refer to our cancer advocacy services and to the new Clinical Commissioning Groups to encourage them to support local cancer advocacy provision in the best way possible, with the colour of their money.
Wish us luck!
Marie McWilliams, OPAAL