Guest Post: I Must Advocate for Improved Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors
Advocate, Caregiver, and NCCS CPAT MemberI am the mother and caregiver for my son who was diagnosed with biphenotypic leukemia in March of 2011. Being there for my son gave me a first hand look at what cancer survivors go through. I think most of us have been touched by cancer in some form. We might have experienced it with a family member, friend, co-worker or even ourselves. My experience left me knowing that I could no longer be passive while cancer was active in my son’s life and others. I knew I had to jump in the ring and fight back, but I was unclear how.
Attending the NCCS Cancer Policy and Advocacy Team (CPAT) Symposium in June of 2016 was a game changer for me. It allowed me to focus and gave me direction. As we prepared for Hill Day, I thought I would be nervous or intimidated. To the contrary, hearing the stories of survivors and other advocates ignited me. On Hill Day I met with my representatives’ staffers to urge them to support the Planning Actively for Cancer Treatment (PACT) Act. NCCS staff said they could feel my passion as I shared my personal story to illustrate the critical need to improve care coordination and care planning.
From this point on I knew that I must advocate for improved quality of life for cancer survivors. Since then, I became a member of the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medicine’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and UAB Medicine’s Speakers Bureau. I also attended the American Association of Cancer Researchers’ (AACR) Disparities Conference and did a poster presentation.
I am so thankful that I attended the CPAT Symposium. It changed my life.
Read more about my experience as a caregiver on AACR’s Official Blog »