10 December 2014
Programme leaves legacy for young people diagnosed with cancer in the South West
Last week, a special event was held in Bristol to mark the
culmination of a three year programme called 'On Target.' Funded by
Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered by University Hospitals
Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, 'On Target' was designed to address
the aftercare needs of teenagers and young adults (TYA) with cancer
in the South West. The work has consulted and benefited people
affected by cancer in Cornwall, Devon, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire
and parts of Gloucestershire.
Programme Director, Professor Mike Stevens welcomed an audience
full of clinicians and health professionals, service users,
contributors and potential future partner organisations to the
event. Together with colleagues, Mike demonstrated the process from
research and scoping, through to ideas and implementation.
Professor Stevens explained; "The aim of 'On Target' was
to support young people towards the achievement of a life as
it would have been lived without the intrusion of cancer, or as the
patient decides to recreate it after experiencing the impact of
cancer and its treatment.
"The key thing was not to assume anything but to talk directly
to TYAs about their experiences. After coming away with thousands
of findings, we worked to group these findings into clusters, and
'co-created' some high impact, achievable interventions."
These interventions include self help websites tailored by and
for this age group, with particular input from a designer and
patient based in Cheltenham, a Macmillan volunteer-led work
mentoring programme based in Bristol, and health and wellbeing
events in Redruth and near Bristol, to name a few.
Pete Jerrett, 19 years old from Plymouth, has been heavily
involved with the programme since being diagnosed with Leukaemia.
He too spoke at the event, saying; "I didn't think I'd be in a
position to help anyone, so it was great to be a part of something
that was helping others whilst still helping me. There seems to be
a lot out there for adults with cancer and for children, for not
for this age group. We were able to make sure the information was
suited to our age group, in the way we'd like to be spoken to."
The event itself heralded the programme drawing to a close, and
sought to ensure the interventions and recommendations will be
embedded firmly within the treatment pathway for TYAs.
Maggie Crowe, Macmillan Development Manager added; "It was a
fantastic opportunity for Macmillan to work in partnership with the
existing TYA team and the other charities on this innovative
project, and they had great vision. It really is about changing the
culture, and need to ensure that after the programme has finished,
TYAs living with and beyond cancer will have a different, improved
experience because of this work."
A number of discussions were initiated regarding the future of
the work, and the team are hopeful that the legacy of the project
will continue to have an effect in Bristol and the South West and
beyond, for teenagers and young adults with cancer and other
Macmillan Cancer Support is only able to fund projects like this
thanks to the generosity of those who raise funds and give their
time to help. If you'd like to support Macmillan in your local
area, please contact Macmillan on 0300 1000 200.
Cancer is the toughest fight many people will ever face, and the
feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience
make it even harder. But you don't have to go through it alone. If
you have any worries or questions about cancer, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or
call Macmillan free on 0808 808 00 00.
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