Monday 15th January 2018
Like many people I was blown away by Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes and with this being awards season it made me think about our work over the last year and all the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to work with and need to thank.
2017 was a turbulent year politically, and the snap general election dominated a lot of our time in the first half of the year. It was an important opportunity for us to be clear about the need to make young people with cancer a priority. We were inundated with support for our call to action to Government – including getting a retweet from Russell Brand which was a touch of celebrity awe.
We were delighted to have young people we’ve worked with – Dean, Antonia, Emily, Nicola, Adam, Rosalie, Sophie and James - share their thoughts and experiences through blogs in the run up to the election and also our Trustee, Andrew Hughes. All these blogs are still on our website and are as relevant today as ever so please do read and be inspired again, like I have. Thank you all.
Launching the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Children, Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer (APPG CTYAC) was a fantastic way to take this forward. Working with the fab policy team at CLIC Sargent and having a champion like Thangam Debbonaire MP we really have an opportunity to get #YoungCancerVoices heard in Parliament. At the launch of the APPG CTYAC many young people with cancer and their families joined us. I was really encouraged by all the support we’ve had from young people across the UK who want to be involved in this work with us and all the young people who attended and spoke on the day.
I was touched to hear from one parent after the launch: “as a mum who is observing all the side effects and disability, that is ongoing, caused by the harsh and lengthy treatments that my daughter has gone through, how important and welcome, I feel, was the opportunity for her to be able to speak out about the subject…I thought it was so inspiring to hear all the young people speak and to see their passion for helping to effect change.” Thank you all.
Throughout the year we also continued our important work in partnership with Public Health England on national data about young people with cancer, and with the Wales Cancer Alliance, the Scottish Cancer Coalition, Cancer 52, Cancer Campaigning Group and many other partnerships that help us amplify our voice and the issues for young people with cancer. Thank you all.
Finally a big thank you to the wonderful teams we work with at Teenage Cancer Trust, all our funded staff, our colleagues in the Services team, our Communications team and many others who all support our work every day. Thank you all too!
And so onto 2018, which is already off to a running start with a motion in the Scottish Government about Teenage Cancer Trust’s work being placed by Rona McKay MSP which leads up to a reception we’ll be hosting in March. Plans for our APPG CTYAC scrutiny sessions, consultations on young people’s mental health support, NHS workforce, service review of teenagers and young adults and review of the cancer strategy implementation in Wales. And we’ll soon be welcoming our newest member of the team after Isabel Wilkinson moved on to a new job last year, so we’ll be introducing our new Policy and Public Affairs Manager to you soon. These are just some of the things that will be keeping us busy. Keep a look out for further updates on our policy pages and via our twitter accounts below.