I tend to focus a lot on Cancer Research UK because of my close connections to the charity but I wanted to use this post to shine a light on another incredible charity: Macmillan Cancer Support.
Whilst Cancer Research UK focuses on the research side of things, Macmillan is more about supporting people affected by cancer. Their website states: “Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. One in three of us will get cancer. We are all affected by cancer. We can all help. We are Macmillan.”
An Introduction to Macmillan and their Aims
Research into cancer means that more and more people are now surviving the disease. These people need practical, emotional and financial support. This is where Macmillan comes in.
“We are a Source of Support: Macmillan help with the things cancer patients need during their illness but they also help the loved ones who are trying to support someone through cancer. They guide people through the system and support them at every stage. They fund nurses, they build cancer centres and they fund specialist health professionals but they focus on the emotional and practical side of the disease – not just the medical side. Macmillan help with things like getting to and from the hospital, arranging carers and listening to people when they just need someone to talk to.
“We are a Force for Change”: Macmillan pride themselves on listening to those that have been affected by cancer and working with them to improve the system of cancer care. “People who live with cancer are experts by experience”. They use the knowledge gained by these patients to try and make a positive impact on the lives of people affected by cancer. This could be something as simple as getting a coffee machine for a hospital waiting area or it could be something like changing the law. They also fight discrimination and inequality within cancer care such as fighting to improve the benefits system for cancer patients and challenging unfair parking costs. Their website states: How much a person earns, where they live, their age, faith, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and whether they have a disability should not be a deciding factor on the type of services they can access and the quality of their experience.”
“We are Macmillan”: Macmillan aim to improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer. That is not a small task at all –they must like a challenge! They also want to inspire people to join in and try to help through donations and volunteering. Over two million people in the UK are living with cancer as we speak and Macmillan want to make sure all of them have help dealing with treatment issues, money worries and anything else they may need during their illness.
A History of Macmillan
Macmillan began in 1911 when Douglas Macmillan set up the “Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer” after seeing his father die of cancer. He wanted to be able to provide low cost information and advice for all people with cancer as well as provide voluntary nurses to look after patients in their own homes. Macmillan wanted to provide information on recognising the signs of cancer, preventing cancer and treating cancer to patients, medical professionals and members of the public.
A Macmillan Timeline:
1911 – Douglas Macmillan establishes “The Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer”
1924 – The charity changes its name to “National Society for Cancer Relief” and becomes a Benevolent Society. It aims to provide practical helps for those affected by cancer.
1930 – The first paid member of staff begins work for the charity.
1934 – Bath becomes the first town to have a local committee.
1969 – The charity makes its first contributions towards hospices and begins to support inpatients.
1975 – The first Macmillan nurses are funded and the first Macmillan Cancer Care Unit is built and fitted with equipment.
1978 – There are now ten Macmillan nurses available.
1980 - £2.5 million is spent expanding the availability of Macmillan nurses across the UK. An educational programme is launched to teach advanced pain control and cancer care to doctors, nurses and students across the UK.
1986 – The first Macmillan doctor is funded
1989 (my year of birth!!) – The charity changes its name to “Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund”
1991 – The Macmillan Nurses Appeal is launched with the aim of raising £20 million.
1993 (Georgie’s year of birth!) – There are now a THOUSAND Macmillan nurses
1994 – The charity pioneers “10 Minimum Standards of Care” as part of the UK wide breast cancer campaign.
1995 – The first directory of UK Breast Cancer Services is developed and distributed to GP’s.
1996 – The charity pioneers “6 Minimum Standards of Care” for gynaecological cancers.
1997 – The charity changes its name to “Macmillan Cancer Relief”. The information helpline launches and helps more than 11,000 people in its first year of operation.
1998 –The Macmillan National Institute of Education (MNIE) is opened with ten lecturers to provide training for specialist cancer care professionals.
1999 – “A Voice for Life” is launched to help people affected by cancer have their say. The charity also lobbies the Oxford English Dictionary and successfully gets them to change their incorrect definition of cancer.
2000 – There are now two thousand Macmillan nurses.
2001 – Macmillan merges with the charity Cancerlink, which formerly provided support for people affected by cancer.
2002 – The Macmillan Cancerline is launched and merges with the Macmillan Information Line as well as the Cancerlink information services.
2003 – A social care strategy is implemented to focus on supporting carers as well as providing financial support and advice.
2004 – The charity launches their biggest ever campaign asking for better financial help for people dealing with cancer. The Macmillan Benefits Line is launched.
2005 – There are now more then 3,500 Macmillan health professionals providing care and support.
2006 – The charity changes its name to Macmillan Cancer Support
2008 – The charity merges with Cancerbackup to provide high quality and expert information about cancer as well as make it available for everyone who needs it.
2009 – The integrated phone line is launched to allow people affected by cancer to just call one number and get all the help and support they need.
I hope this has been an informative post about this amazing charity. They do so many amazing things and have seen so much progression in a relatively short space of time when you think about it. Please do visit their website for more information. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Home.aspx