Fiona felt isolated after her cancer diagnosis. She now supports others

Fiona Gibson, 55, knows about the emotional impact cancer can have, both from her own experience and because of her years of offering emotional support to patients and families.

Fiona, from Newton Mearns, was diagnosed with Olfactory Neuroblastoma after going to the doctor because of a persistent blocked nose and headaches.

She found it impossible to find anyone in the UK who had the same cancer, only getting in touch with a few people with the same illness after sending out appeals on message boards in America.

Fiona, from Newton Mearns, said “I was completely shocked when I was diagnosed and felt quite isolated.

“I think cancer is an isolating experience for everyone, but because my cancer was so rare I couldn’t talk to anyone else who was going through the same thing or who had tips or information to share.

“I know I was still really lucky though as most of those around me went out of their way to be there for me. That support was so important and I know not everyone has that experience.”

For the past two years  Fiona has been volunteering to offer support to people with cancer and their friends and family through the Macmillan@Glasgow Life information and support service in Pollock Library and Castlemilk Library.

She said: “If this service had been running when I was diagnosed I would have found it really useful. I’m very happy to be able to be here for people with cancer and their families. I understand a bit about what they’re going through and know how it feels to have nowhere to turn.

“People can think of cancer is something that just affects you physically but how it affects you mentally can be just as difficult to cope with.

“I see how valuable people find our service but it’s really frustrating when someone comes in and says they wish they’d known about it sooner.

“It would be good if everyone with cancer was told about all the support available and we didn’t need to rely on them seeing our leaflets or posters.”

Email your election candidates for the Scottish Parliament vote on May 5 and ask them that if they get into power, they’ll make sure every cancer patient is offered a full assessment of all their needs and directed to the right support services.