having a bad hair dayI’ve just said I will run a Wellness Day!

Cancer Survivors often feel abandoned – but we can do something!

OK – we all know the NHS is struggling.  But what can we expect when staff are overworked, there isn’t enough money to go round and as a nation we don’t contribute as much of our income as neighbouring countries?

It doesnt help when the great-and-the-good, like The King’s Fund, run a conference on survivorship to tell us “what we need”.  We KNOW what we need, just tell us how / where to access it.  Hence a WELLNESS DAY to signpost what is available, on Friday, April 12th 12-6pm.   In Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

As a survivor, I just need some ideas of what help I can get dealing with long-term side effects, then I am quite capable of sorting this out for myself.  So I am organising the day next April to help suvivors (from anywhere) find out the ‘little’ things available, and short-cut the post-code lottery.

Come next April I will be wondering why on earth I ever thought I could organise such a day, but for the moment let’s have fun and get on with organising a fun day for fellow survivors,.  Where we can come together and meet companies and people who provide services that make life easier for us – from skincare to exercise.   NO ‘miracle foods’, certainly no whacky ideas – just products that have been clinically trialled and proven to help others, organisations that offer really helpful advice, and companies that make products to help us.

Why not organise your own Wellness Day?

There’s nothing to stop anyone organise a similar day, and if we start publicising helpful products, not only does this spread the word, but can help others having difficulties coping,  So why not copy us in the Thames Valley?  If you have never run a Wellness Day in your life, this is probably an advantage because you won’t know what you are letting yourself in for.  The picture above showed my feelings – I’d just realised what I am taking on!

Ever since I got cancer I realised life would change.  So when I became fed up with the way red tape, tick boxes and regulations seemed to be ruling my life, I decided if I was going to get fraught I might as well do the job properly, and run an Event so we could all have a good time.

What to include

During treatment, I found there were some marvellous products on offer, such as massage and other lovely treats.  We just need to know how to find them – so a Wellness Day would highlight where reputable approved therapists and companies were to be found.

Jotted down on the back of an envelope, a preliminary list could include :

  • Lingerie (for mastectomies)
  • Exercise classes
  • Skincare
  • Massage
  • Medical tattoos
  • Charities
  • Local fresh food suppliers
  • Lymphoedema Treatment
  • Wigs

So I talked this over with various suppliers, and was astonished at the enthusiam; everyone I asked was keen to participate.

Funding

So I came to the nitty-gritty:  this was starting to go somewhere, so who was going to pay for the expenses?

  1. I could ask people coming to pay – but most would be short of funds
  2. Or ask the companies, charities etc. to pay – but if they were to help survivors I felt they were giving enough already

I could give my time – in fact I was getting bored occupying time in between hospital appointments, and was spending hours waiting in Outpatients.  A lot of organisation could be done on a lap top, etc. whilst hanging around in these places.

What would need money would be hiring a hall, and printing flyers to publicise the event.  Then thee was ‘office sundies’ : paper, stamps, printer ink, even a marker pen; the ‘little things’ were starting to add up, so reluctantly I got a Donate button put up on my website – and hope those in business could help.  I always believe if someone helps they deserve thanks – and I would rather send a proper letter, rather than an email.  If someone is generous, they deserve proper recognition.

Then I went to Macmillan.

What Macmillan can offer

Across the country, Macmillan have Macmillan Engagement Leads – I contacted the one for my area, and altough I am hopeless at writing proposals, and even worse at admin paperwork, she helped me to put up a proposal.  Shortly after came the good news – they would fund the hire of the local village hall.

Venue hire was the most important and expensive item.  Our local village hall is rather grand; a listed Victorian building designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and well known asthe centre for many events in our part of the Thames Valley. So the fact that this was going to be our venue meant the biggest expense was done-and-dusted, and I could get on with organising the event.

Later came more good news – printing costs would also be covered, and incidentals like bunting and balloons would be provided to decorate the hall.

Committee

In my distant youth I used to organise balls and other events for the RNLI.  My partner-in-crime was often John Sainsbury  (of the supermarket chain), who was incredibly good at organising.

John said the best organising committee consisted of two people (himself and myself), and we would zip through what needed to be done.  This happened – after a 45 minute meeting with the Engagement Lead, just herself and me, and already the day was starting to take shape.

When it came to publicising the event, then John’s maxim was you do have a bit committee for this – and to make them feel involved  you gave them something important to discuss, such as the colour of publicity material.

Date

My hair was starting to calm down, when we settled the date:  Friday, April 12th 2019.

  • My gut feeling was that with any luck, snow should have finished by then, and Spring would be here
  • Friday was the start of the weekend – so everyone would be relaxed
  • The Hall was free that day
  • I wanted nurses and medical staff to come, as they are often the first point of call.  Staff often finish early on a Friday.

Timing : it would start at 1200 – to give people time to set up stalls – we are still thinking how long it will run for.

‘Healthy Eating’ was in the air, with the National Farmers’ Union keen to promote British Fruit, Veg and farm produce.  So keen in fact they have promised 200 copies of their new cookbook for people attending the Wellness Day.

We are on our Way!   Send an email for more details:  verite@greenbee.net or fill in form below; but keep April 12th!

 

 

 

 

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