Zahida on working on the Macmillan Support Line

Zahida at work
Zahida at work

Zahida is a Macmillan Information Support Officer based in Shipley. She works on the Macmillan Support Line and her role involves taking calls from people affected by cancer.

She provides emotional support and, where needed, directs people to other sources of support – such as Macmillan nurses or welfare rights officers.

Zahida's story

We get calls from people affected by cancer, so that might be the patient themselves, their family members, carers, employers, friends or schools. We even get calls from doctor surgeries, where the receptionist just wants to know what kind of support we offer.

We get people who just want to cry on the phone. People who just want to scream down the phone. People who just want to discuss what their family member is going through, or what they’re going through. It can be something simple like talking through their day, or something they’re worried about.

It’s important to speak to someone because keeping your emotions bottled up inside isn't going to help you. Some people just snap after a while.

Sometimes, just having a good cry can help. If there’s anything we can help with, we’ll look into it for you – but sometimes just to know that there’s someone on the other end of that line is enough.

Everything people tell us, it’s all in confidence. Nothing is repeated. The only thing we do ask, is if we can create a record for them so if they do ever call back they don’t have to repeat it all over again.

If we can’t provide the support ourselves, we can always signpost people to other organisations that offer that support. So I might get people ringing up wanting a little bit of practical support at home. Simple things like getting their medicine, a district nurses, or equipment around the house. So we explain to them about care packages.

I really enjoy my job. It can be emotional sometimes – well, a lot of the time actually. But it’s one of those jobs where you can actually say at the end of the day that you've helped somebody, just by speaking to them. 

I know it sometimes takes a lot of strength to actually make that call – but if that is the case and it is something you’re worried about, just call us. We’re a friendly bunch and we’re here to listen. There isn't any right or wrong reason to call us, and no problem too big or too small. We give you your space. So when you’re ready to speak to us, we’re here for you.

Zahida at work

Watch a video about Zahida's experiences

Watch a video about Zahida's experiences