The Irish Cancer Society has launched a new Advocacy Network encouraging cancer patients, survivors, their families and caregivers to join and lend their voices to vital cancer campaigns. The Society are recruiting volunteers to campaign on issues affecting cancer patients, such as the reversal of underinvestment in cancer care, the huge financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, and the urgent need for additional supports for cancer patients, including mental health support.
Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Paul Gordon said: “Cancer patients are not only affected by the Government’s chronic underfunding of cancer services, but they also face a significant financial burden in terms of loss of income and the costs of care, as well as a huge toll on their mental health.”
“The new Advocacy Network seeks to empower anyone affected by cancer to lend their voice to our campaigns for change. As we continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cancer services, it is more important than ever that the voices of those affected by cancer are heard at all levels of Government.”
The launch coincides with National Volunteering week, a celebration of volunteers and their impact across Ireland. Joining the Advocacy Network is an easy way for anyone interested in volunteering to create lasting change for the cancer community across Ireland.
Karen Sheahan, from Co. Limerick has signed up to join the Advocacy Network as a volunteer Advocacy Champion. Diagnosed with cervical cancer ten years ago at the age of 23, Karen is a passionate advocate for raising awareness about cervical cancer in young women, the importance of the HPV vaccine and mental health supports for cancer patients. She said “I wanted to get involved in this programme to help improve the lives of those affected by cancer. During my cancer journey I felt a need for improved mental health and support services; before, during and after diagnoses. I always had the passion to help improve other people’s experiences because of this. When I heard about the advocacy programme, I realised this is the time for me to help others”.
There are two ways to get involved in the Advocacy Network. You can sign up as an Online Advocate to take quick actions for change, such as signing petitions or sharing campaigns on social media. Or you can volunteer as an Advocacy Champion to campaign in your local constituency and work with politicians to ensure that the voices of cancer patients throughout Ireland are heard. Advocacy Champions will receive training and support from the Irish Cancer Society and work closely with our Advocacy team.
More details are available at www.cancer.ie/about-us/cancer-