Becoming a Community Advocate

October 5, 2016

This month at the Cancer Support Community, we’re highlighting community advocacy as one of the best ways to build relationships, create dialogues and increase understanding for those affected by cancer. You can become a community advocate whether you have had cancer or have been a caregiver or loved one to someone living with cancer.

Later this month, we’re rolling out our second 7-Day Challenge to highlight the steps you can take to be an effective community advocate. Stay tuned on our social media as we post a new challenge each day. You can do the challenges in order or jump in at any point and choose the ones you feel most comfortable with. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in.

Your local Cancer Support Community Affiliate is a good resource you can use to connect to others in your area. You can become involved in local activities, or set up a group to provide support to others by sharing your experience.  Joining a volunteer organization or signing a team up for a walk, run or triathlon to fundraise for cancer causes are all great ways to get involved in your community.

As a community advocate, educating yourself first about the basics of cancer and specific issues that are important to you, such as clinical trials, or the importance of emotional support, among others, will arm you with the knowledge create an impact. It’s never too early to talk about cancer and how it will impact the patient and their families. Hearing from a survivor not only brings necessary first-hand experiences but also stories of life and hope after a cancer diagnosis.

Your community does not have to be restricted by geographical location. You can in a free, online community through resources like our Cancer Experience Registry. The Registry brings people impacted by cancer together to share their experiences, identify issues that impact their lives, access resources and learn from each other. While you’re online, feel free to look at the webinars created by our Cancer Policy Institute on how to make your voice heard at the policy and legislative level.

Becoming a community advocate can be a daunting task but don’t let that deter you from taking the leap to being a leader in your community. Along the way, you’ll help raise public awareness, empower others to take action, and improve the quality of cancer care in your community.

Don’t forget to share your journey with us by using #CSCChallenge to inspire others to become community advocates as well!