Poster Presentation FCIC Survivorship Conference 2013

Utilising life changing experiences of cancer survivors and care-givers to deliver community based psychosocial program (#60)

Annie Miller 1 , Gill Batt
  1. Cancer Council NSW, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia

There is a dynamic opportunity within community and not-for-profit organisations to engage volunteers to facilitate programs that will assist others.

For many people that have lived through a diagnosis and treatment of cancer or who have had a hands-on caring role, it is a life altering experience. A great deal of focus is placed on active treatment and prevention of recurrence. It is often not until the acute phase of treatment has finished, that patients and care-givers start to learn and cope with a “new normal” and process what has actually happened.

Could there be a better way to name and normalise the different experiences of people affected by cancer other than bringing together a team of people who have experienced the disease first hand? Surviving cancer for many instils a great sense of wanting to “give back” to the community. The passion and commitment to assist others becomes a priority where they can provide insights, support, strategies and understanding that no others can provide unless it has been experienced personally.

Cancer Council NSW is committed to providing quality evidence-based programs to the NSW cancer community. Since 2008, trained volunteer facilitators who are cancer survivors and/or former care-givers have delivered the “Living Well After Cancer” program throughout NSW supported by trained volunteer administration staff. In addition to their personal experience with cancer, they have the necessary professional skills that are required to become a program leader.

This is an initiative that honours how life-changing experiences can empower an individual to utilise their existing professional skills to support and deliver a sustainable community education program.