Every two minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer. It’s a terrible disease (or group of diseases, more accurately) that affects almost everyone at some stage in their lives. If someone doesn’t receive a cancer diagnosis themselves, they are likely to know someone who will. Many people are passionate about fighting cancer in any way they can, whether it’s through fundraising or supporting someone they know who is having treatment. But the impact of cancer is so great that you can often wonder if there is really anything you can do to make a difference. Although it might not always feel like you’re helping, there are lots of ways you can play your part in the fight against cancer.
Do the Race for Life
If you want to join in with something that helps to raise money for Cancer Research UK, Race for Life is an event that has been going on for years. This event for women is actually a series of events now, including different distances, such as 5k, 10k and a half marathon and marathon. You can also join in with a hike or a Pretty Muddy obstacle course, and even take your kids on a family 5k. You can set up an online fundraising page to get people to contribute to your fundraising efforts – no need to go around with a pen and paper anymore! The events are for ladies only, as lots of women feel more comfortable running with their own gender. But if there are any men in your life who want to do something similar, they can try something like the Boys Beating Cancer.
Join in with Other Fundraising Events
Of course, there are other fundraising events you can join in with if you want to raise some money for a cancer charity. Apart from Cancer Research UK, there’s Macmillan, Make a Wish, Breast Cancer Care, and many more. Just choose the charity you want to support and see what events they have going on. Some charities aim to research treatments and cures for cancer, while others help to support patients and their families. Some events are sporting events, but if you’re not very sporty, you can always find other things to join in with.
Create an Event of Your Own
You don’t have to look for a ready-made event if you want to do some fundraising. You can always set up your own thing if you like to be in charge. For example, Breast Cancer Care have Strawberry Tea events when you can raise money by hosting an afternoon tea. Just plan your day and invite some people to come, then have lots of fun while raising money. You don’t have to use one of the suggestions from charities, either. You can come up with your own fundraising idea, whether it’s completing a fitness challenge or hosting a party.
If you don’t want to commit to taking part in an event, you can just give your own money. Whenever you feel like making a contribution, you can make a one-off donation to your favourite charity. You can also set up a monthly direct debit to give a few pounds to a charity each month. It’s much easier to donate nowadays, as you can do it online or even use your phone to text a donation. You can also consider writing a donation into your will if you have one, which many people choose to do.
Volunteer Your Time
As well as using your time to fundraise, you can also volunteer in a variety of ways. For example, some cancer charities have shops where you can help out as a customer service assistant, organise the stock, or write listings for online sales. Charity shops aren’t the only volunteer positions you can find. You might also want to volunteer directly with people who have cancer or their families. Some volunteer positions might involve providing people with company or helping them out with daily tasks. You could also volunteer as a fundraiser or at an event as a steward.
Fighting Cancer in Your Career
Some people want to commit their lives to helping to fight cancer. If you’re really passionate about it, you might consider dedicating your career to helping people with cancer or cancer research. For example, if you’re a qualified nurse, you could apply for a Macmillan nursing job or a job with another charity. There are lots of ways you could work for or with a cancer charity, from admin positions to shop workers. If you want to work for a charity, you might have to be patient until the right job for you comes along. But you can volunteer in the meantime, especially if you have your sights set on a particular charity.
Be Educated About Cancer
If you want to be able to help in the fight against cancer, being educated about the disease is a good idea. You can learn about the science and medicine aspects of cancer and how to treat it. You can also make sure you understand how it can affect people practically, emotionally and psychologically too. Cancer charities tend to have plenty to read online if you’re looking for information. You can also check out the NHS website, which can teach you about different types of cancer and treatments. You might find it interesting to look at official statistics on things like cancer rates and survival rates.
If you make an effort to stay educated about cancer, you can also help other people to understand the disease. You can help by correcting misconceptions or having discussions with people about cancer and its treatments. As a volunteer for a cancer charity, you might also be able to educate people about the disease. It’s important for people to understand cancer so they can help to fight it and so they can show empathy towards people who are dealing with it.
Provide Support to Someone You Know
If you know someone who has cancer, or even someone whose friend or family member is fighting it, you can help out by providing support. There are lots of things you can do for someone to help make life easier for them. You can carry out practical tasks and offer emotional support too. For example, it can help to do things like going shopping, cooking meals, cleaning, or picking up their kids. Sometimes you could just be a friendly ear or a shoulder to lean on when someone needs emotional support. However, it is important to make sure your support is welcome. It’s best to offer help before taking any action, just to make sure you’re not interfering in ways that might not be appreciated.
Take Responsibility for Your Health
Another way to help in the fight against cancer is more personal. Looking after your health is an important way to prevent cancer, as well as detect it early. Living a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent a variety of cancers, although it’s also important not to get too paranoid about what the media says can cause or prevent cancer. More importantly, you should know how to recognise the symptoms of some cancers and when you should go to the doctor for routine checkups. For example, two checks women should have are cervical smears and mammograms. These are recommended from different ages, as cervical cancer is more common for younger women, while breast cancer is more common for older women.
There are lots of ways you can join the fight against cancer. Give your time or money, or even dedicate your career to helping.