“It is rewarding to support the Online Community as no-one needs to go through cancer alone.”

Published: 06 June 2023

Steph shares a day in the life of an Online Community Officer and tells us why the Online Community team are passionate about supporting people affected by cancer.

A white woman with short brown hair and glasses.

Ros Digital Content Editor at Macmillan

Hi, my name is Steph

I started my role with the Online Community team in 2020 after working with the Macmillan fundraising team for 5 years.

Before coming to Macmillan, I spent 17 years working with a Formula One motor racing team. I helped fans of the sport connect with each other and the sport through an online community and worldwide events. I was passionate about helping people find joy through the sport, whoever they may be.

When I moved on from this role, my focus was on finding a position which allowed me to help people when they most needed support.

The Online Community is here to support anyone affected by cancer 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It’s a group of online forums, where you can find people in similar circumstances. You can find out what to expect and find support from people who care, because they have been there themselves.

You can chat with other people with cancer about being diagnosed, having treatment or everyday life. There’s also a regularly updated blog section on everything from symptoms to travel insurance.

Watch our welcome video below to find out what to expect.

A typical day on the Online Community

There’s simply no typical day on the Online Community. I work alongside Eliza, Meg, Syed, Dylan and Matthew and our Team Leader Su to make sure all our members feel well supported. There are tasks that we need to complete every day, however every day is different.

Each morning usually begins with reviewing content on the Community to keep all our members safe and feeling supported.

I’m here to help with any questions members have about using the Community or finding the right support.

We work with Ellen our development manager and colleagues from across Macmillan to make sure that people can find and use the Online Community when they need it. We discuss any feedback that we’ve received and look at ways to improve the site. We are passionate about making the site accessible and available to everyone who needs us.

I might also spend some time writing blogs and newsletters. We highlight the support available and things people are talking about on our Community News Blog. This could be sharing tips from Macmillan around navigating the healthcare system, coping with anxiety, or even gardening.

"Coming on here listening and talking to members was a godsend, I don't know how I would have managed” – Online Community member

The best thing about working on the Online Community

It means a lot to me that I can make a difference to someone in need of support. By connecting people similarly affected by cancer, the Community can be a lifeline for some.

It’s particularly rewarding to work with our wonderful volunteers, the Community Champions. They are members who found the Community to be really helpful and wanted to give something back. Our Champions offer support and help new members find their way around the site.

What I have learnt

I have learnt that a virtual hug can feel a lot warmer than you might think.

We hear every day just how much the Community means to people. Whether you have questions about cancer, or just want someone to virtually hold your hand in the middle of the night. There are so many benefits of online peer support that you can access 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

"You can ask us anything, tell us you are scared, whatever you feel, tell us, as we have all been there.” – Online Community member

Join our Online Community

Some people feel better when they share their feelings, but you don’t have to post a message until you feel comfortable. If you’d like to join the Online Community, you can sign up here.

Lots of people find it helpful just to have a read through some of the conversations. Take a look at our cancer forums.

If you've just joined the Community and aren't sure where to start, the New to the Community forum is for you. Tell us what brings you here, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Someone will be on hand to welcome you and point you in the right direction.

We are here to help

If you have questions about the Online Community, we’re here to help. You can contact the Community team by email at community@macmillan.org.uk.