Tim shares his cancer journey at official launch
21 September 2020
A Powys resident joined officials at the virtual launch of the Improving the Cancer Journey in Powys (ICJ) programme earlier today, to speak about his personal experience of living with cancer in a rural county and how his love of art helps his well-being.
The official launch signalled the restart of the ICJ programme, which is a three-way partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, Powys County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board. Its aim is to develop a personalised multi-agency model of care that ensures that every adult in the county who is diagnosed with cancer is offered a 'supported conversation' with a trained professional to discuss their holistic needs and how best these can be met.
Following the launch, speaker, Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, the Cabinet Member for Powys County Council's Adults Services said:
"This programme is about looking at how best we can support people living with cancer in our county so as to improve their quality of life. The restart of the programme is a positive move in what is an anxious time for people not only in Powys, but across Wales, who are living with cancer and may have been affected by the Covid outbreak. We are confident that by listening to people like Tim who has shared his story, we can begin to build capacity and develop a model of care that will help people living with cancer to access personalised practical, physical, emotional, spiritual and social support when they want or need it."
Individuals who attended the virtual launch heard accounts from support organisations, regarding the work they had been doing during the pandemic to support people living with cancer. It also provided an opportunity for partners involved in the programme to share their insights about how and what services and support they are able to offer people following a diagnosis. Speakers included the Head of Partnerships Wales at Macmillan, the Assistant Medical Director for Primary Care at Powys Teaching Health Board, plus partners from Credu and PAVO (Powys Association for Voluntary Organisations).
Tim Platt, from Welshpool who was diagnosed with lymphoma and bowel cancer in 2016,and who has to travel to Shrewsbury Hospital to have chemotherapy every fortnight, spoke about his cancer journey and how he has rediscovered his love of art following his diagnosis. He shared photos of his "curtains" made from the sleeves of his Stoma Bags with attendees and said:
"My art pulls together a whole string of themes that have run through my life: art, community involvement in art, teaching, and a willingness to learn and alter one's direction according to life experience. I have actually become a whole person since my diagnosis, living with cancer has given me a new purpose in life, being alive and sharing the experience of the struggle of life is a binding knot that unites those strings of joy as well as sadness.
"By getting involved in the ICJ Programme and sharing my story I have felt listened to and empowered to progress towards my goal of running an exhibition of my artwork so as to raise money for Macmillan and the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund."
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: "A cancer diagnosis can turn someone's life upside down in a single moment, so Macmillan have funded the 'Improving the Cancer Journey' programme to help people in Powys to manage cancer's impact on their lives.
"I was pleased to join the programme's virtual launch and to hear how the programme will enhance cancer care and access to the right local support for people living with cancer in Powys. We have been able to fund this innovative programme thanks to our supporters' donations working in partnership with Powys County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board."
The team working on the programme are keen to map out and capture the experiences and insights from people about the support and services they are offered following a diagnosis. Anyone living with cancer who wishes to share their story can get in touch via email at: ICJPowys@powys.gov.uk or by calling 01597 826043.