Lauren: why change is important this World Cancer Day
This World Cancer Day, we’re talking about change.
Young Lives vs Cancer Social Workers stop at nothing to make sure children and young people with cancer get the right care and support, at the right time.
It isn’t easy. But it’s made even harder by the systems and policies around us.
Children and young people with cancer deserve better.
Here’s Lauren, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, to explain why 2024 needs to be a year of change and why a Children and Young People's Cancer Plan is at the top of her wish list.
“Having cancer as a child or young person is so different to any other stage in life. I had Lymphoma when I was 21 and immediately I started to see the difference between what I and other young patients were going through, compared to the experiences of older adults around me.
“Children and young people with cancer have unique needs, but they aren’t being properly recognised. So making sure they have the basics takes time – but they don’t have time. Because as time goes on, debt can pile up and savings get wiped out. Day-to-day struggles become unmanageable, and the emotional toll can leave lasting damage.
“From the moment of diagnosis, Young Lives vs Cancer Social Workers work hard to make sure young cancer patients and their families have grants to help with the costs that come with cancer. They navigate the complexities of the benefits system and jump through hoops so that children and young people with cancer, and their families, get the support they deserve. Support which should be provided straight away. For everyone.
“Even with all the support Young Lives vs Cancer Social Workers provide day-to-day, there are still many challenges young people with cancer and families continue to face. There are still delays to vital benefits, lack of support for travel costs, and education and employment becoming disrupted. And we know that’s not all. No child, young person, or family should have to deal with all these challenges and more whilst going through cancer.
“It can’t continue. Children and young people with cancer deserve better. Together, we need to make change happen in 2024.
“We know that change doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time, and we need to pull together. Over the past 18 months, we’ve been busy building a solid foundation of evidence to drive meaningful change. We’ve been listening to the people who really matter in all this – children, young people and their families. They’ve told us what they need from the people and systems around them, and how cancer has impacted their quality of life and well-being.
“We’ve published a number of insightful reports and collected evidence through our Cancer Care Survey. And we’ve already been campaigning on some of these issues, but there’s much more to be done. Now it’s time to build on this foundation. To make real change.
“We know what children and young people with cancer need, and over the next year we’ll be calling on our supporters, colleagues, charity partners and children and young people with cancer and their families, to help make change happen together.
“There are many changes that need to happen for children and young people with cancer. I’d like to see a commitment from each UK government to address the unique needs of children and young people with cancer, and for a Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan to be put in place. Because I believe we can make more change when there’s a good plan to follow.
“But that’s not the only change we want to see. Different things matter to different people, and we want to hear from you this World Cancer Day. Visit our message board and tell us a change you’d like to see in 2024 to improve quality of life for children and young people with cancer. It’s already filled with so many thoughts from young people, families and supporters.
“I’m looking forward to seeing where this year takes us and how we’ll improve quality of life for children and young people with cancer. It’s time to put our research and insight into action and raise the voices of children and young people with cancer. We have to act now.”
To read more about our campaigning work so far and what we’ve been doing to create positive change, visit our Get Campaigning pages.Visit our World Cancer Day message board
Posted on Wednesday 31 January 2024