Cancer Advocacy story Brian

Brian’s Story

Cancer Advocacy story Brian

No one should face ‘the void’ that I did.

Brian is 67 years old and used to enjoy running a successful business in the motor trade. Over the years he’s enjoyed a very good quality of life and was not planning to retire. However, his personal circumstances changed dramatically and he now lives alone in a sheltered flat — often feeling lonely and depressed.

He has a supportive family and a small number of good friends but poor mobility reduced his independence. One of the biggest blows was losing the driving licence he’d held since he was 18.

“My cancer diagnosis has been life changing. You wake up every day thinking about it.”

Brian has Myeloma which was diagnosed about 2 years ago. His treatment has resulted in mobility issues and a lot of pain, and his medication causes side-effects including putting on weight.

When Brian was diagnosed the person doing the scan showed him a picture on screen and said in a very matter-of-fact way that it looked like cancer. He said that he worried a lot during that time.

“No one should face ‘the void’ that I did between having tests and getting an appointment for the actual diagnosis.”

Luckily Brian had a supportive GP and was able to get help with his mobility issues from the local Community Assessment and Rehabilitation Team (CART). A worker from CART suggested he might like to find out about advocacy support. The coordinator from the service got in touch with him to explain the service, and introduced him to Bob (Volunteer Advocate).

Bob visited Brian at home to find out exactly what advocacy support he would like. Brian says that he is easy to chat to and is easy going.

Bob looked into the local Myeloma Support Group and went along to one of their meetings with Brian. Since then Brian has been in regular contact with them and attends their meetings when he can. Bob also found out about the local shop-mobility scooters and accompanied Brian to try them out — he finds that they make shopping much easier.

“I would rate Bob as ‘top of the range’ and I am confident that with any situation he will speak to the right person.”

Brian also says he looks forward to and really values Bob’s visits. He says it’s good to share feelings with someone from outside of his family.

“I’ve arranged a bus pass, trials of motorised scooters, membership of the Myeloma Support Group and taken him to a meeting to introduce him. Whatever information Brian needs I source and provide it.”

- Bob, Volunteer Advocate

Volunteer Advocate Bob has been supporting Brian for 7 months. To date, there have been 23 visits, 2 meetings and over 30 telephone calls. This is just one example of the difference advocacy can make to somebody’s life.

Thanks to our delivery partners OPAAL (Older People’s Advocacy Alliance) and their Cancer, Older People and Advocacy project (COPA) for providing the case study and photo — a great example of how an advocate can really help someone affected by cancer.

Could you or someone you know benefit from Cancer Advocacy?

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