The Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) has launched a new publication telling a series of advocacy volunteering stories from its ground breaking Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme. Called “Time: Our Gift To You”, there are 19 separate stories of older people affected by cancer supporting their peers.
There are many different definitions for advocacy: but older people in the main are unconcerned about definitions, and when faced with cancer they simply need some support. Peer advocates walk side by side, every step of the way, providing whatever support the older person needs. They aim to be the ‘voice’ of the older person, are non-judgemental and make sure those they support are heard and their views and opinions are acted upon.
Claire explains why she volunteers: “Last year, I decided to volunteer as a peer advocate because I could see at first hand, as I was going through my treatment, that there were many people who were struggling to find their way through the healthcare system in our area and to access the support they needed. It seemed obvious to me that a person who has been treated for cancer is potentially in a very strong position to support another person going through the same or similar treatment and experience.”
Claire goes on to say: “working with Sally has also been very rewarding for me. Cancer treatment is often quite technical and complicated and over time you are forced to become quite an expert in the healthcare system and how to get support. I am really glad to be able to put my experience to good use.”
You can also read the real life stories of some of the older people supported by the cancer, older people and advocacy volunteers in Facing Cancer Together.
Join OPAAL in the advocacy conversation on twitter using the hashtag #advocacyworks.
For more information contact Marie McWilliams, firstname.lastname@example.org