Cancer event celebrates local volunteers

Published December 16, 2014 at 9:03

Around 55 people attended an event recently to celebrate the involvement of local people in the ongoing £1m Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire.

Held at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors on Wednesday, December 10, the event was a chance to hear how vital to the project the involvement of those who have first-hand experience of cancer is. By agreeing to volunteer onto a local patient user group, these people have the opportunity to help shape the way care and support is delivered locally and in the future.

On the night there was a chance to hear patient stories, musical performances, information and take part in a Q+A session about the Macmillan partnership as well as a chance for people to feedback on their cancer care experiences with hand-held voting pads.

Representatives from the partnership as well as various tumour site support groups and Pendleside and Rossendale Hospices were also present.

One local cancer survivor at the event who has already signed up to volunteer is Bashir Ahmed, 34, from St James Road in Blackburn. Bashir was diagnosed with bowel cancer in A&E and believes more needs to be done to improve awareness and early diagnosis. He said:

When they told me it was cancer I just froze with shock. It was the first time I thought about dying. After having surgery, the doctors didn’t think I’d pull through. It was the scariest time of my life.

“I heard about the work Macmillan were doing and wanted to get involved, because my family and I feel I should have been diagnosed earlier. I’m very lucky to have survived. People don’t know what services are provided and they don’t go to their GP, which is why I wanted to get involved in raising awareness. The more information there is out there, the more chance there is of lives being saved. Early diagnosis is key.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for health and adult social care, added:

I’m delighted that Bashir has agreed to sign up to work with the project and help shape future cancer services. His experiences will be invaluable. The project is all about transforming cancer care locally and his input as well as others will play a vital part in achieving that.

Jeremy Such, Macmillan Development Manager in Lancashire, said:

Bashir’s experience highlights the issues we have around early diagnosis and cancer awareness in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen. We know that early diagnosis dramatically increases chances of survival, which is why we’re investing heavily in this area.

The Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership is investing £1million in a pioneering three year programme across Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire to provide better care and support for cancer patients from the moment of diagnosis to beyond treatment.

If you’d like to be involved in the patient user group and share your views, or get involved in future events, please contact Nazmun Usman 07803203702 or email nazmun.usman@blackburn.gov.uk

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