Today, Macmillan Cancer Support UK hosts the Biggest Coffee Morning in the World – and we will be hosting our own events in Second Life too – from 1 – 3pm SLT at the Prim Perfect Head Offices, and later in Cheertopia – courtesy of the Second Life Cheerleaders.
But let’s start the day with a little more information about the charity itself – and what it meant for one resident of Second Life, sadly no longer with us.
About Macmillan Cancer Support UK
Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest British charities and provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.
As well as helping with the medical needs of people affected by cancer, Macmillan also looks at the social, emotional and practical impact cancer can have, and campaigns for better cancer care. Macmillan Cancer Support’s goal is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer in the UK.
The charity was founded in 1911 as the Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer, by Douglas Macmillan following the death of his father from the disease. From 5 April 2006, Macmillan Cancer Relief became known as Macmillan Cancer Support, as this more accurately describes its role in supporting people living with cancer. It has adopted the principles of being a “source of support” and a “force for change”.
Macmillan works in partnership with other cancer research organisations and is a partner of the National Cancer Research Institute.
What Macmillan means for people with Cancer
A long term resident of Caledon in Second Life, Mr Alastair Whybrow, found Macmillan Cancer Support invaluable. Before he died, in December2014, he gave me permission to quote from our conversation.
He said: “I’ve had a great deal of involvement with the MacMillan organisation lately, and they’ve been absolutely marvellous, so I’m heartened to think that my friends here have managed to give something back in return … I’m not overdramatising but it is not a small thing. The role and capabilities of the MacMillan organisation are easy to underestimate, as I myself did. They continue to surprise me with the realistic, practical help that can be given and are almost entirely responsible for my own course of pain management, which has involved a course of radio at Mount Vernon, amongst other things. And from my point of view, I’ve found it to be no exaggeration that the sheer goodwill from others really has helped, even when hospitals, tests and medications fall short. It really has been quite sobering, and moving, to experience for oneself how much difference it makes to one’s own attitude simply knowing that others are out there caring in their own way.
“MacMillan have done things that have surprised me. Clinical dosage (thanks to them my painkillers are now starting to work), organising treatment (especially where the NHS is dragging its heels) and help with benefits – not to mention their counselling … The amazing thing to me is that they ARE a charity! I’m not entirely sure how the organisation itself slots into the NHS but they seem to work with it as a semi-autonomous part of it. And yes, the NHS is paying for these things but it’s MacMillan who got it all organised so quickly, even down to helping me organise the transport; there’s no way I can drive to Mount Vernon like this. Their main role administratively seems to be pointing one in the right direction but things are so complicated that that on its own is a big help, and there are people who can’t handle admin very well, they’re happy to stand over your shoulder … Another factor which some’d find helpful is state benefits. MacM are very au fait with what’s available and how to get it. If a hospital visit’s costing £10 in taxis each time, that becomes very helpful.
“They look at the whole picture of how cancer affects not just you but your family too. They’re happy to speak to your family individually, according to what everyone wants. They don’t just leave you to pass on bad news. I’m lucky in that my family and I discuss everything without holding back, but it’s a comfort to know that McM are there as impartial ears.”
He also added: “What I would be glad to see is more men having themselves examined as a precaution – especially men over 50. Prostate cancer is cunning and can lurk for years before ballooning out. If my own example can persuade one person to get themselves diagnosed in time, then I’ll be very pleased.”