Every week is interesting with the work I do, you just never really know what will happen. Also when you plan something, you never quite know how things will go, and it seems that we constantly need to adapt to ever changing demands. What people require these days is quite fluid, and because something was good a few months ago doesn’t make it right for now. Personally I quite like that challenge as it ensures that you are always as good as you can be and are never really complacent. I am constantly collaborating behind the scenes with everyone to ensure that what we are doing is what people actually want. My great joy is looking at new ways to offer our work and through my charity, and social media, I am constantly being approached with innovative ideas. Not every one works of course, but it keeps things really fresh as people know that we will always be looking at new ideas to solve our age old problems within cancer support.
Ultimately, the major problem still exists, which is helping people understand how their life will change with a cancer diagnosis, and helping those around them work out how they can help. As we continue to say, many of the issues we face today are the psychological and emotional ones, which can be difficult to recognise. But none of us can do our work if people don’t know where we are, so marketing and publicity remain large challenges for those of us working on a shoestring. Necessity is the mother of invention as they say, and this week I was invited by the lovely Emily Hodge who is a life coach and therapist, to do a Facebook Live interview. This is something I knew nothing about, but we were both keen to give it a go! It meant that everyone on Facebook could watch the interview live, and if they couldn’t do that they could catch the video later. People watching could engage with questions during the session which made it really interactive. The collaboration between us meant that we crossed two different audiences so more people could learn about what we do.
The session flew past and we received great engagement from the live viewers. But what has surprised me more, is the number of people who have viewed the video, and the positive reactions we have received to it. Nothing complex, as simple is always best, just the two of us discussing some of the important issues around cancer. Plain speaking, with a little humour and in language that is easy to understand, not really a science, but truly effective! This is certainly a fabulous way of getting real people ‘out there.’ With a couple of hours of hour time and little more than a mobile phone, we could be viewed around the world. what a really time effective project and please keep an eye out for more in the future!
In the coming week I have a lovely talk to do in Bridport, West Dorset. I was asked if I would visit and talk to the local community about ‘Working through Cancer.’ Many people in the locality are struggling with the realities of work and cancer, and have invited me to share my personal experiences and host a discussion. Apparently we are expecting a good cross section of audience, from patients, healthcare professionals, charity workers and local employers. It really will be a great pleasure to talk to local people about real issues, face to face. My invitation came from The Living Tree which does such wonderful work in their community, in an area that doesn’t have the resources that a major city like London will have.
Our evening will be quite intimate although it is in the Town Hall, but it will be a great opportunity for people to talk honestly and openly about the issues that survivorship is bringing to these communities. It will be a great learning opportunity for me too, to understand how local people are dealing with the long term effects of cancer. Social media is certainly a powerful thing and without that I wouldn’t be invited to do a lot of my work as people would not know who I was and what I do. But nothing can beat the real emotions felt during a face to face discussion. My work seems to have got to the stage where one part goes with the other, and I find during most presentations I do, that people are already connected on social media.
The importance of sharing in this way cannot be underestimated, undoubtedly we will all learn from each other, and our experiences will then be shared with others, via the internet or during conversation. Things have changed dramatically since my own experience started in 2007. So many more of us are taking to the Internet to share our stories via so many platforms, for the benefit of others. So I am still very shocked when I hear many newly diagnosed people asking questions I was, nine years ago! In so many ways things have progressed but it still seems like word of mouth has the biggest impact. So I am delighted to be able to supplement my internet presence with regular personal presentations and engage with different communities. If you would like to host a cancer chat in your area, please feel free to get in touch and talk about the possibilities!
As I have emphasised clearly above, my life and work is based around sharing, and please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below.
Please check out our video if you haven’t done so already!
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.