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Dorset Macmillan Advocacy

We offer support to people in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset who are over 50 and affected by cancer, as well as their families and friends.

Dorset Macmillan Advocacy offers support to people in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset who are over 50 and affected by cancer. We also support carers and relatives (of any age) of people over 50 affected by cancer. The support is provided by trained peer volunteer advocates aged over 50 who understand the impact cancer can have on your life.  Most volunteers have personal experience of cancer or of caring for someone with cancer.

We support patients at any and every stage of the journey from investigations (pre-diagnosis) through active treatment to coping with the consequences of cancer treatment.  We help you to make informed decisions about treatment and care and to live well with cancer.

The service is free, independent and confidential.  It is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support. 

Call Dorset Macmillan Advocacy on 0300 012 0256 to speak to a friendly Information and Support Worker or ask your doctor or nurse to refer you.

You can also contact us by email macmillan@helpandcare.org.uk or use the referral form on our website http://dorsetmacmillanadvocacy.org/gethelp/

 

http://dorsetmacmillanadvocacy.org/

Our advocate's stories

Bob's Story

We all have experiences, talents, and skills that can be used for the benefit of others. None of us know when we may need the help of others and it’s great to play our part whilst we can. I have generally tried to help others if I have the opportunity but never more so than since I contracted cancer for the first time in 2007. By 2012 I'd had the illness three times, plus a stem cell transplant. I was in remission again and looking for somewhere that I could really make a difference. Being a volunteer advocate enables me to use my experiences to help others struggling with their cancer journey. Having someone who is supportive, impartial, and empathetic (not just sympathetic) can be invaluable, and this can be especially relevant to the older person. Advocacy doesn’t just benefit the person affected by cancer; I have learnt so much about how to support people with so many different needs. Each of my advocacy partners has been different and taught me so much. Being a male advocate will obviously involve supporting men and women partners. However, certain types of cancer are very personal to a man (as are some to a woman). Having male volunteers also adds a different dimension to the advocacy; a man affected by cancer might- open up more to another man as they will have had similar life experiences and views. Some say they can treat you more as ‘an impartial brother’. I would very much recommend that other men who have had experience of cancer volunteer as advocates. The emotional rewards are enormous. Cancer advocacy is the most important volunteer role I’ve had to date.

Bob, Peer Advocate

Janet's Story

In my role I have been overwhelmed in a way I had not anticipated by the privilege of being allowed into the lives of others and to become a true support and ally in their difficult journeys. I have found that the most important need of my partners is to talk – to express their feelings, fears, doubts and worries to a friendly, non-partisan, non-judgemental person. Listening in this way can help a person reflect on their treatment choices and to prepare for the many challenges that living with and surviving a cancer diagnosis brings. Of course the prognosis is not always good and advocacy can then fulfil an important role helping the person and family plan for the future and come to terms with their decisions. Here, as with all discussions, it is important not to become too involved or to bring your own feelings and opinions into the discussions. It all sounds very difficult but I assure you it is all worthwhile and you are rewarded with the gratitude of the individual you have supported, their friends and family. Becoming a volunteer advocate has turned out to be the most worthwhile role that I have ever been asked to play.

Janet, Peer Advocate

Janice's Story

What drew me in was the positivity. At our induction training we had a group brainstorm of all the things that came into our minds when we thought of the word ‘cancer’. A jumble of words and phrases quickly filled up the flipchart and we instantly saw what a big impact a cancer diagnosis has and how the impact can vary for different people. Some of the words were inevitably negative but what came out most strongly was that we all believed that life can be lived well with cancer. Being a peer volunteer advocate for someone affected by cancer is a totally worthwhile thing to do. We see the person beyond the cancer, we can help the person we are supporting to live well and to feel that their life is worth living. Above all we value the person and believe in the importance of a good life – whatever that means to them. Even helping someone for a short time is still worth it, enhancing their life in some way, helping them make the most of the time they have. We don’t give up. It’s about the value that you place on life, and having the belief that people are worth it.

Janice, Peer Advocate

These videos show the impact advocates have on the lives of others.