Innovative Cancer Card is fast becoming an invaluable resource - Ian Pirrie

Over 32,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in Scotland. Hearing such a diagnosis is devastating. A one-stop shop for information, Cancer Card’s aim is to ensure every one of those people who hears the words ‘you have cancer’ quickly and easily find the support they need.

The brainchild of Jen Hardy who was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer five years ago, Cancer Card is starting to make a difference to the lives of people affected. Our online support hub is fast becoming an invaluable resource and support. Everyone affected by cancer can find the help they need quickly and easily and connect with a community of people who are going through a similar experience – all in one place.

The positive feedback we’ve received has been amazing. As well as winning two business awards we have also achieved full cross-party support at the Scottish Parliament. One of the proudest, and admittedly emotional moments for me was sitting beside our founder Jen Hardy in the Scottish Parliament to watch MSPs debate Cancer Card. We were blown away by the positive reaction across all parties. We can’t thank Miles Briggs MSP enough for securing this debate and bringing Cancer Card to the attention of Parliament. It was wonderful to hear such positive support from Miles, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf, Kenneth Gibson MSP, Jackie Baillie MSP and Graham Simpson MSP, each recognising the impact of Cancer Card.

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But perhaps the most rewarding feedback comes from our users who tell us that upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, it’s almost impossible to take it all in. Often people are alone when given a cancer diagnosis and we’re told that these people have lots of questions but are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to turn. Our users say Cancer Card gives them one place to go and to them it’s invaluable.

Our focus for 2023 is to build on the success of 2022 and ensure that everyone who needs cancer support knows about our service; this includes our physical Cancer Cards. On the reverse of our cards is a QR code that takes users straight to our online support hub where they can start the search for cancer support based on their individual needs. With access to local and national cancer support charities and services, our advanced search and filtering options allow users to create a bespoke search based on their location, cancer type and what type of support they need. This ranges from help with finance and benefits, transport to and from hospital appointments, complimentary therapies to free gifts and experience.

A key section of our online support hub is our Cancer Card Community where others affected by cancer share their stories in the hope that it will help others feel less alone – there is so much to be gained from hearing from ‘someone like me’. We have some wonderful/helpful insights there. Katie who lost her mum to cancer when she was 16 shares her experience, while Anna talks about what she found helpful when supporting her partner Gary through his pancreatic cancer.

We understand that cancer affects more than the patient and are focused on providing access to the support needs of partners, families and friends too as they navigate the world of cancer.

We are working to ensure that our Cancer Cards are available in all hospitals, GP practices, libraries and Maggie’s centres throughout Scotland. But there’s more we can do, and we need your help. Our Cancer Cards can be ordered free of charge so if you know of any public or private space where people would benefit from having a Cancer Card or you would like your own, please get in touch at [email protected] and we’ll send them on their way.

Ian Pirrie is Chief Executive at Cancer Card www.cancercard.org.uk

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