Macmillan video project helps people understand cancer

Louisa Balderson (Involvement and Insight Coordinator for Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer in Morecambe Bay) and Jenny Lowe.
Louisa Balderson (Involvement and Insight Coordinator for Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer in Morecambe Bay) and Jenny Lowe.

A retired nurse was inspired to get involved in the latest Macmillan video project after her own cancer diagnosis.

Jenny Lowe, 59, from Lancaster was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.

Since then she has had a lumpectomy, lymph nodes removed, hormone treatment and radiotherapy.

She said: “I never felt a lump, my cancer was picked up through a routine mammogram which I’m very grateful for and it’s fair to say that after the diagnosis I went through some dark times.”

Once treatment finished Jenny felt like she wanted to give something back so began volunteering with different initiatives, one of which was Macmillan’s Living with and Beyond Cancer.

She explained: “Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you’re never the same again and you have to find a new normal so being involved in projects which bring people together, who have gone through something similar, really helps.

“When Macmillan started looking into patient engagement, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. I have always been very happy with the treatment I received, and the breast cancer nurses were amazing, but there is always room for improvement.”

Last year the Macmillan Engagement team in the North of England reached out to people who have been affected by cancer asking for volunteers to be involved in a video project. A group of 9 people, including Jenny, came together and work began, concluding with the production of two short films entitled Piecing Together Patient Engagement, which launched to the public this week.

Nicole Kirby, Macmillan Engagement Lead for the North of England was involved with the project.

She said: “These two short films highlight the benefits of involving people affected by cancer in the development, design and delivery of cancer services. Here at Macmillan we are really proud of the group and of what they’ve achieved. From day one the group took charge of the project, they decided how many films were going to be made, the key messages, who the video producer was going to be, and they even wrote the scripts.

“We hope the films will encourage other people to value engagement in the way that they do, because (in their words), ‘Together our combined expertise can make the world of difference’.”

The first film focuses on people living with cancer and those who care for them, to encourage them to get involved. The second film is for cancer professionals in a bid to inspire them to involve patients.

Jenny added: “Being involved in this project has been very beneficial, this is a patient led initiative and it’s been really empowering to be part of. Being engaged with the process gives you the ability to change cancer services for the benefit of others. Diverse experiences shape the bigger picture, everyone is unique and everyone’s experience matters.”

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FYIQZ-btlM or https://vimeo.com/347333862 to view the videos.