Lived Experience Award winner 2024

Published: 23 May 2024
Kiwi Patel is the winner of the Lived Experience Award at the Thanks to You Awards 2024.

'I just wanted to take an experience that was profoundly dark and turn it into something that was positive and light.'

Kiwi Patel

Kiwi is wearing a Macmillan branded top and jeans. He has short dark hair. He is standing and pointing towards a projector. The projector shows a presentation called 'My Cancer Journey: A Copper with Cancer by Kiwi'.

When Metropolitan Police Sergeant Kiwi was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, the support he received from Macmillan helped to get him through. 

‘Initially, things didn’t look great, and at one point I was told that I potentially only had three months left to live,’ he explains. ‘I was only 31 at the time, so it was a lot for me to get my head around. I was in a really dark place. I called the Macmillan Support Line when I was at my lowest point and the person on the other end of the phone just listened. I was shouting and screaming about how unfair it all was, but they understood. It sounds like a small thing, but just having someone listen meant everything to me because I needed to offload.’ 

Two years after his diagnosis, Kiwi decided that he wanted to do something to help Macmillan. 

‘I’ve given my time as a scout leader for 21 years, so I guess volunteering is in my blood,’ he says. ‘I just wanted to take an experience that was profoundly dark and turn it into something that was positive and light.’ 

Kiwi went on to share his cancer story for Macmillan in countless ways. As well as helping to secure substantial funding with corporate partners – most notably through a £1.7 million partnership with Omaze – Kiwi was also the driving force behind Macmillan’s partnership with the London Scouts. On top of this, Kiwi inspired Macmillan employees at their staff conference, and he raised more than £4,500 through individual fundraising efforts. 

Kiwi is a vocal advocate for mental health awareness, using his lived experience to break down barriers. He has been instrumental in encouraging men in the Asian community to consider taboos about cancer by collaborating with Macmillan on three YouTube videos. In the most recent of these, Kiwi and his father spoke in Gujarati about his experience and talked about how Macmillan helped. 

‘Whenever I share my story for Macmillan, I’m always very honest and I try to keep things very real. I also throw in some humour because that helps me to connect with people. If I can help people to feel a little better and less alone by sharing some of the things that I went through, then I’m using the negativity of my experiences for good.’ 

Kiwi sees volunteering as a way to give something back to Macmillan and he plans to continue for as long as he can. 

‘I'm really grateful to Macmillan for so many different things. Not only did Macmillan support me, but they also gave me a platform to be able to become a keynote speaker, and I've been able to hone my skills as a result. I could volunteer for Macmillan for the rest of my life – and I hope that I do – but it will never be enough to repay Macmillan for what they did for me.’

Find out more about the Thanks to You Awards.