Three people who urgently need support coping with the impact of cancer. A young mum who just needs someone to talk to. A middle-aged dad forced back to work before he is ready because of money problems, and an older man who needs help to cope at home.
You can only give support to one. Who would you choose?
This is the choice we’re asking people to consider in our new campaign.
Of course this is an impossible choice to ask anyone to make. And you’ll be relieved to know that it’s not real. The people in the campaign are actors.
But that doesn’t mean the problems they’re highlighting aren’t real. Each story featured in our campaign is based on real stories Macmillan has heard from people with cancer.
So while the people in the campaign don’t really need your vote to get them the right support, the 220,000 people living with cancer in Scotland do need your help.
They need you to 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.
Cancer can impact on every aspect of life, bringing emotional, financial, practical and physical problems that can last long after treatment ends. Debt, depression, loneliness and mobility problems are just a few of the issues people can face after being diagnosed with cancer.
There is currently no standard offer of support to patients and those who have finished treatment. This means that too often people don’t get the help they need. Frustratingly this often happens simply because they don’t know help is available, even when it is just a phone call away.
The truth is that right now whether or not a person gets support to deal with all the ways cancer impacts their life is too often down to luck. Do they spot the right leaflet? Do they bump into someone else with cancer who tells when about help they had? Do they live in Glasgow, currently the only council area in Scotland where every single person with cancer gets offered a needs assessment and care plan?
It’s not the fault of the amazing staff in the NHS. They do a fantastic job and always go the extra mile to help. But not even the best and most dedicated nurse can compensate for a system that currently just isn’t set up to manage the huge numbers of people who need help coping with the impact of cancer.
Getting the right support during and after cancer can be the difference between sinking and swimming. Between getting your life back on track and struggling to keep going at all. Between getting better and ending up back in A&E because you’ve been too tired to make meals or leave the house to pick up prescriptions.
Good cancer support is too important to be left to chance. The cancer plan published by the last government promises a needs assessment and care plan for everyone with cancer. We now need your support to make sure every political party in Scotland pledges that they will turn that promise into a reality.