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Providing support to anyone affected by blood cancer
The work we do at Leukaemia CARE is all about providing information and emotional support to anyone affected by a blood cancer. One of our key and most popular support services is our 24/7 Care Line, which is free to call any time of day or night. Here, one of our Care and Support Advisors, Zeli, talks us through what her day involves.
I get into the office around 9am and I take over the Care Line from one of our dedicated volunteers who has been on-call overnight. I am debriefed on any calls that have come through during the night and any actions I need to follow up.
I receive a lot of calls ranging from a patient or carer enquiring about coming along to one of our support groups to somebody seeking emotional support after they have been diagnosed or are experiencing bereavement. I also speak to family members and friends who are worried about someone close to them who’s recently been diagnosed or to find out how they can better support them. I also receive calls from medical professionals who request information about our services so they can signpost their patients to them.
The range of calls we get means my day is quite varied but I enjoy interacting with other people. Being able to provide some help and support to make their day that bit more bearable is very rewarding. I also like to learn and develop my own knowledge about blood cancers and the impact it can have on someone’s daily life.
Our Care Line isn’t the only support service we offer. My day also involves communicating with people via email and online through our Live Chat facility. Some people don’t always want to speak over the phone - they prefer the anonymity digital channels can bring. However, I treat online communication the same as I would when taking a call. I try and be as personable and as helpful and supportive as I can be to that person’s individual situation.
Unfortunately, sometimes I do receive calls from people who are particularly distressed by their situation. This can be tough as the emotions after a diagnosis and bereavement can be very raw. I take the time to stay on the line with that person until they feel that they can end the conversation. Sometimes, it’s just about being a voice or a listening ear at the end of the phone whilst they try to organise and process what they’re going through. The satisfaction of knowing that I have perhaps helped someone makes a difficult phone call all worthwhile.
For many, the initial contact they have with us is maybe the first time they have discussed what they are going through with someone other than a relative or friend. Therefore it’s important to recognise that this is a big challenge for them and that they go away feeling as though their call was important and that somebody was listening and cared for their wellbeing. It’s also important to let them know where and how they can access support. Sometimes that’s through the services Leukaemia CARE offers directly, but other times, we signpost people to other blood cancer charities such as Lymphoma Association or Myeloma UK, as well as other support organisations such as Carers UK.
Our support services play such an important role in the emotional support we can provide newly diagnosed patients and their loved ones. Our Care Line is often someone’s first port of call in finding out what information is available to them, and how they can access it.
Many people are left confused and alone after a cancer diagnosis so the more people who know about our services, the better, so we can help patients and carers realise they are not alone.
Our Care Line is available 24/7. If you would like to speak to someone, any time of day or night, please call us on 08088 010 444 free from landline and major mobile networks.