Way, way back in 2011, Shine Cancer Support was tiny. We had two support groups (one in Dorset and one in London) and we weren’t yet registered as a charity. We had no staff, but we felt like there was a lot of need for support for younger adults with cancer. Unfortunately, try as we might, we couldn’t find it – and we also couldn’t find any research on the needs of younger adults with cancer in the UK. To help us make the case for change, we ran an online survey as part of our Small c Project 2012. This was the first research carried out into the needs of adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The results helped us to shape our work and create workshops, retreats and conferences that covered topics that were of importance to our community: fertility, working after cancer, coping with anxiety, and more.
It’s hard to believe that seven years have passed since we first ran that survey! We’re now a small team of five people (all of whom have had cancer), and we’re a registered charity. We’ve been able to grow and expand across the UK and now have 14 Shine Networks. But we know there’s more to do, so we’ve decided to run the Small c Survey (version 2019!) again so that we’re up to date with the needs and issues that everyone in our community is facing. We would love to hear from you! If you can spare a few minutes, please do visit the survey and let us know your thoughts on how cancer has affected you.
Why is this important? Well, when we did our survey in 2012, 53% of respondents told us that they were unable to work in the same way as they had done before their diagnosis. Fifty-three percent! Though we knew from our own experiences how tough returning to work can be, seeing the cold hard numbers in front of us made us determined to support younger adults with cancer to return to work – whether that was a new job, the same job in a new way, or something completely different. We’ve worked with a number of experts to develop workshops on working after cancer, and we’ve also included sessions on work at many of our Great Escape retreats and Shine Connect conferences. We’ve also been able to make the case to other charities and healthcare bodies that returning to work matters – and that younger people in particular need support because they’re facing cancer at a critical time in their careers.
Shine has always been a community-led organisation and we couldn’t do what we do without the insight we get from the younger adults with cancer that contact us. If you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s and have experienced a cancer diagnosis, please help us out – the survey is here.
Oh! And as a sweetener, you could win one of three £25 Amazon gift cards. It *is* only 141 days until Christmas!