I'm organising an event for cancer patients to HAVE THEIR SAY to Welsh Assembly Members on Tuesday 2 February 2016.
The idea was to identify 30 patients from different parts of Wales and representing different cancer sites to bring them together as a single group to talk to Assembly Members. So often when things go wrong with cancer provision, or lack of access to drugs patients are on their own with only a sensational media story to underpin their cries for fair access to cancer treatments for the people of Wales.
The event caught the imagination of the local NHS, the local cancer centre and many charities who have been incredibly generous helping out with printing, advice on administration and planning, translation into Welsh, and on how to communicate with government officials and Assembly Members. Their kindness and support has been overwhelming. Not only have they provided advice, resources and will be sharing the cost of catering, but cancer charities from across the United Kingdom will be sending a member of staff to Cardiff for the day with a display and will provide support for their patient.
I have less than 2 months to finish all the plans and there seems an awful lot to do right now. So far I've recruited 26 patients. Several Assembly Members have accepted the invitation to come along and meet patients and their constituents. Invitations to honoured guests have just been sent out and I'm thrilled to have had responses from people in very senior positions in the world of cancer in Wales.
If anyone knows someone with cancer in Wales please tell them about our Patient VOICES Event. It's been very challenging recruiting patients to represent all parts of Wales and people in remote and rural areas really need to have their stories heard. My email for this event is CancerVOICESinWales@gmail.com.
As I understand it, this is the first-ever patient-led delegation to a Government. I hope in standing shoulder to shoulder we get our message across in the months leading up to our elections and before the 2016-21 Cancer Plan for Wales is drawn up.
The television cameras will be rolling on the day and we've got the media lined up to take a photo shot and publish articles in the papers. I'm still looking for a famous Welsh person to open the event - does anyone know anyone famous in Wales who might be prepared to appear for a few minutes at 11 o'clock on Tuesday 2 February? The Q&A session with the health spokesperson from the four main political parties in Wales will be chaired by Baroness Delyth Morgan.
This has all been a wonderful distraction from the dreary world of hospital visits and the diurnal hopes and fears we all go experience in dealing with our own cancer journey.
Let's hope once we've had our say to our politicians they will listen and take action.