Unfortunately it has been quite a few weeks since I have been able to sit down and write a blog. Pressure for time has been extreme during November. Not really down to bad planning but many exciting events asking me to speak, unfortunately all coming within the same month. If I add the travelling into the mix, I have found it difficult at times, and this period ended with me being a guest speaker at a fabulous conference in Vienna, which was an incredible experience, but very physically and emotionally demanding. December is deliberately much quieter, and time to recuperate and build up my strength, for what will be another challenging year. I am finding myself frequently torn between doing more speaking roles, and increasing my travelling, or taking my
As most of you know well, my own health can be very unreliable, and if I’m honest it is something I get fed up with talking about in a social setting. Unfortunately the fact is that I will never have normal health now, and will always be reliant on hospital care at some stage, and this post is prompted by some conversations I have had recently whilst doing my support work. When meeting people for the first time it is usual to explain what connection you have with cancer, to help you understand their experience. This I have done, which has prompted numerous conversations later about how no one would know what I have been through and how well I look. Everyone is very kind and well meaning, and actually
In recent weeks I have been extremely busy, doing presentations in the UK and abroad. I have also been privileged to have conversations with many senior people from within the cancer sector talking about the challenges that we face in the near future. Although all I have heard about, are the obstacles to success. Naturally I realised when I came into this work that I was not going to change this sector on my own or as quickly as I would like. But I do feel that I’m now making a positive change as I am receiving very senior invitations across the world to either talk or participate in life changing work. My role is becoming clearer, which is using my business skills to help join up the decision makers
No I am not talking about the behaviour of our politicians, as I certainly don’t want to give any single one of them the publicity oxygen they so crave. Unfortunately our NHS is controlled by these people and it is now easy for everyone to see why things are in a complete mess. Year after year the big decisions have been ignored causing delay upon delay for both patients and staff. We are now in the position where we are short of key staff and our infrastructure is crumbling, in more ways than one! The service is an incredibly difficult place to work and morale on the whole is low. This is not something that can be solved by money alone. I would like to talk specifically about the cancer
There is nobody who likes to look at the world through ‘rose tinted’ glasses more than me! But at times that view must be tempered with a cold dose of reality. One of the headlines I read recently was ‘Britain sits at bottom of global league table for cancer survival rates.’ Unfortunately headlines like this don’t shock me anymore, why should we expect anything else? With a Government that has lost interest in governing, a Health Service trying to stay afloat, and large cancer charities jostling each other for money and influence, what chance is there for patients? Yes the figures are only up till 2014 and of course people are already arguing that things have improved, but those are policy makers, and not patients, having their lives torn apart
Life has been very fast and furious in the last few weeks! So many incredibly positive things happening around me at the moment that it is becoming difficult to take time out to write about them through this blog. In this post I would like to focus on the work that my charity SimPal is doing and the progress we are making across the UK. We are the only charity in the UK giving free pre-paid sim cards and mobile phones, to people affected by cancer, with no means testing and including ‘people affected by cancer’ not just patients! Our offer is to sponsor people for an initial 6 months, which is then reviewed. Once your application has been approved, the card/phone remain yours, at the end of the term.
I have just been sent a copy of the latest set of accounts from Macmillan Cancer Support, the headline being that ‘fundraised income’ dropped from £247.7m in 2017 to £230.8 in 2018. A drop of nearly £17m, which is large in anyone’s book. So finally even the ‘big green corporate beast’ of the cancer world is being impacted by it’s continual practice of wanting to totally dominate the sector, from small groups right up to Government. Doing it’s best to tell us what we want/need, which of course must be right because Macmillan tell us! This organisation has become the darling of the media and politicians. On almost any cancer related issue it seems it is not complete without a quote from their many highly paid ‘media friendly’ team. Macmillan
This week I was a member of an ‘expert panel discussing’ ‘travelling with and after cancer.’ I was invited by Avril from Cancer Central who had got together an incredibly diverse mix of experiences which seemed to answer all the questions we were asked. They came in as we went out on YouTube and Facebook live. Several of us are living with cancer and could answer them with passion and authenticity! Leaning on our own personal experiences, not all good, but great for us all to learn from. We have received lots of positive feedback since, and many who were unable to watch live have followed the discussion later on the video that was made. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed sharing our experiences with