(Watch the video here)
This got me to thinking as to how important loving support really is. My name is Tash and I have been working at Yes to Life for over a year. In this time I have had the honour to meet and talk with many people who are facing up to cancer with incredible courage. I am continuously humbled by these individuals, but also by the people around them who are the ears that listen, the shoulders to cry on, the hands that help and the ones to say 'I am with you, no matter what'.
From all I have seen and heard so far, it is this kind of love and support which in so many ways makes all the difference.
This week I had the privileged task of covering some of the calls to our helpline. Our helpline is for anyone with cancer, or anyone supporting someone with cancer, and offers a listening ear and information about the different options that are out there.
Usually run by trained volunteers, even after the training I was nervous I would live up to their excellent standards. But everything went well and I learnt a lot along the way. Firstly the power of simply listening. Given the opportunity, people have so much to share and sometimes even the act of speaking the things you might not have spoken to anyone else has a liberating and unburdening effect.
Secondly the complication and length of peoples encounters with ill health. Cancer is not simple and every case is different. Appreciating all the many varied experiences people go through makes you realise how important it is for people to find treatment and support that is right for them.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the sheer value of having someone stand by you. As the teacher from Staten Island felt, true love and friendship are the most important reasons to keep going and the greatest resources in your journey.
I would like to pay tribute to the many people across the UK, and the world, who are supporting someone through cancer. Personally I have two friends currently supporting loved ones, and I have such incredible admiration and respect for the vital job they don't even necessarily realise they are doing.
Don't undervalue your power to offer someone a lifeline. As the video shows, even a song and a flower can offer hope.
I would also like to pay tribute to our wonderful helpline volunteers, who offer that lifeline to many and more who may not otherwise have the opportunity for support. This week I have experienced myself just what a extraordinary thing that is.
And of course my last tribute is to the many people who find themselves in that harsh world of a cancer diagnosis, may we all learn to offer more love and support.
If you would like to champion our work, please do consider becoming a friend of Yes to Life by making a monthly donation. We want to continue to listen to and support people, but we can't do it alone.
Sign up to make a monthly donation and become a Friend of Yes to Life