Having recently taken early retirement and joined the North Staffs & Stoke on Trent Advocacy Project for Older People Affected by Cancer provided through the Beth Johnson Foundation (BJF), I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed both undertaking the two training sessions and also reading the vast amount of supporting information. The breadth of such information provided by Macmillan is incredible and, from what I have seen so far, it is very clearly and sensitively written.
To date I have undertaken one joint visit with my Manager, and have since been in telephone contact with that client’s family . Speaking to the client and their relatives was a very humbling experience, Although having personal and professional experience of how cancer affects families, this contact has underpinned the message that everyone’s story is different with individual challenges and upsets along the way.
I recently attended a Benefits Information session held at BJF and lead by a member of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This was very helpful in identifying the areas that are covered by various benefits and how to signpost people to the right contact(s) in the DWP so that they be helped and advised. It also gave me the opportunity to meet other Advocates and I am really looking forward to also attending a Peer Support Group in August in order to meet more of my Advocate colleagues.
I do hope that, particularly as I gain experience and become more informed, I will be of some help and/or support to those who are dealing with the issues bought about by a diagnosis of Cancer. Research tells us how the incidence of this will increase as the population in general ages. Hopefully the clinical treatment and overall support will increase too – maybe one day even outpace it..
North Staffs & Stoke on Trent Cancer Advocacy Project
Beth Johnson Foundation