Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

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How do we tell our stories?

Today Janet Cullingford, Services Manager at ICANN, wonders how we can best relay the stories of those we support:

Alongside our participation in the Cancer Older People and Advocacy programme, ICANN is a delivery partner and member of the Older People’s Cancer Voices project steering group.   I have been musing of late on the subject of how we can best tell the stories of the people we have been working with and promote the fantastic work our advocates, especially our peer advocates, have been carrying out to improve the lives and experiences of older people affected by cancer.

ICANN staff and volunteers have started a series of workshops to increase and improve our social media presence. In the first one we gathered our thoughts to develop a strategy and plan for how we can best promote our work, and are going to do further workshops to improve our Facebook and Twitter skills.




We started a Twitter account very recently and have already gained 75 followers, come and tweet with us @ICANN_Advocacy. Andy one of our younger volunteers manages our Facebook page for us www.facebook.com/ICANNLancs. It would be great to see you on there!

The words we choose can be very important, do we TELL our stories or even SING about them. Whilst talking to many of the people who access our services, some like to ‘Tell a Tale or two….’

UntitledMany people talk about their cancer journey, however others do not feel that this truly reflects their experiences, and a journey implies a destination.

As advocates we are there to be a voice for our clients, when their ability to voice things may be wavering due to illness, age or vulnerability, but we must be sensitive that when we tell their stories it is in a way that they are comfortable with.


Margaret and Vivian from ICANN

ICANN took part in the series of films that OPAAL produced last year to promote Cancer Older People and Advocacy. One of our clients enjoyed participating so much he treasures the picture he was presented with and has requested a copy of his entire interview prior to it hitting the cutting room floor!

Janet Cullingford, ICANN

What’s the best way of telling stories that reflects the value of the support our advocates provide? Tell us what you think.

Marie, OPAAL


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Twitter: our most recent (successful?) foray into social media

A few weeks ago OPAAL Chief Executive Kath Parson wrote a blog post about an amendment being put forward in the House of Lords by Baroness Barker. The amendment seeks to have independent advocacy included in the new Care Bill which is currently before Parliament. We at OPAAL haven’t been that great at getting to grips with social media as an influencing tool but this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Putting my very new tweeting skills to the test, I tweeted to Baroness Barker to thank her for putting forward her amendment. Amazingly, almost instantly I got a response from the Baroness pointing out that she was not alone in her efforts to get the amendment passed.  She mentioned both Norman Lamb and Paul Burstow as supporting this important issue so I tweeted to thank them too. Before I knew what was happening I was getting tweets back from these prominent politicians thanking OPAAL in turn. Why not give it a try? If you’ve got a message to get across Twitter may be the way to go, I’m certainly impressed.

Twitter feed

Twitter feed

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