Lisa Larkin attended the HOPE (Help to Overcome Problems Effectively) course Macmillan provides for people affected by cancer as a patient. And she found it to be such a positive experience she trained to be a facilitator of the course herself.
‘I was a leukaemia patient and was given the leaflet about the HOPE course when my treatment ended in 2011.
‘I was struggling after my treatment with what happens next. It was the usual things: a fear of relapse, getting my confidence back and I just felt I needed a bit more support. Because you may be well, but you don’t want to talk about it with your family or friends.
‘The great benefit of the course was that what I was going through and feeling was shared by the group. Getting the support was also fantastic in changing my perspective. I realised it wasn’t going to be solved overnight and I needed to do something proactively to move forwards – and I definitely got those tools from the course.’
‘Then towards the end of the course I was asked if I’d be interested in becoming a facilitator.
'I felt happy I could give something back.'
I’m able to relate to people because I know what it’s like to have chemotherapy, when you physically change and your appearance changes and how scary it can be when you want to move forward.
‘I took my very first course as a patient facilitator last October – it went really well and the evaluation was really positive. People look to you for a lot for reassurance and it was really rewarding to be able to do that.’