The joy of youthful innovation in cancer support.

This week has been particularly busy, as instead of being stuck behind my computer, sending emails and writing, I was doing my preferred work, meeting people. My project work is evolving, and I am invited to see some of the new work going on in the cancer sector. I have also completed a magazine interview, where my opinions were sought on some very controversial subjects. It will be interesting to see that in print! ( My legal team are ready!) To add to that, I have received a very nice invitation to talk to some policy making professionals, so a very varied week all round.

I have mentioned several times in my blogs that I love working with younger people. However, their issues can be incredibly complex. Unfortunately, many will not have been able to develop some of the life skills required to deal with cancer and it’s side issues. But what I do find from this group, are fresh, stimulating ideas. They think very differently to me, and don’t have so many preconceived ideas. Being always open to looking at problems differently.

This stimulates innovation, which is what we require, to keep improving things for people affected by cancer. I am heartened to be invited to talk with people who are now starting to look at new ways we may be able to deal with the psychological and emotional issues that all of us face. We are now in an era when social media will play an increasing role in this. We can no longer rely on the support groups and traditional methods of counselling etc. People are looking at new, more modern ways of gaining the support they require. Something more suited to the lives we lead today.

Social media has given people affected by cancer, a new, very powerful tool. Very quickly, they have learned how to use it effectively, and support networks are springing up across the world. Whilst a lot of us have found our way around by trial and error, many of our younger patients, have been using their skills and experience to develop methods of support, more appropriate to them. What this means is that we can build on this work, and target much more age appropriate support.

I have been very honoured to feature some wonderful guest blogs, from some incredibly inspiring young people. All of which get read week after week by new readers. The style in which they are written, shows a freshness and openness, and an enthusiasm to share their experiences to the benefit of others. The young lady who’s work I feature today, is someone I connect with frequently, as we have a lot of common ground with our work. We both work with several organisations and use our contrasting skills to help others.

Becki McGuiness works tirelessly for others, despite her own cancer issues She was honoured, to participate in the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in London 2012. She is an incredible lady and has just produced a wonderful piece of work, showing how poetry and art can be effective in cancer support. Below is a brief summary of why Becki created this project, and also a little of her own personal involvement with cancer.

“I was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 2005 at 18 and osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in my sacrum at 21. I enjoyed doing art lessons whilst going through chemotherapy at University College Hospital London. By creating this book with Fixers I wanted to show others, the positive effect, art and poetry can have, to help you cope with what I call the Big C. The final push to physically get this project off the ground, was when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2012

I hope this helps anyone affected by cancer, to feel that they are not alone. Everyone’s experience of cancer is different. Do what feels right for you. You will have good and bad days, you’re only human.”

I feel very honoured to have a blog link included in this piece of work! My thanks to you Becki, for all you do for everyone affected by cancer.
If you would like to find out more about what Becki does, take a look at her brilliantblog or contact her on Twitter @LoveEire4eva

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