A shout-out to my fellow health advocates! You are all incredible, and although you don’t know it yet, you are impacting the lives of people who are reading your story. Always remember, people won’t necessarily remember the health statistics, but they will remember you and your important story.
I absolutely love working in the health advocacy and consulting space after my own bowel cancer diagnosis. It is a way for me to process and make sense of my bowel cancer diagnosis at the age of only 38 years, a way to give back to the cancer community, and importantly a great way for me to make an impact to help improve the health care system for Australians with cancer.
The challenge is, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin when you first embark on your advocacy journey. It can also be incredibly lonely… I highly recommend connecting and collaborating with fellow advocates who share your vision.
Here are 5 tips to help you to collaborate and share your great work:
1. Reach out and collaborate with large organisations that align with your key messages to share your story for a greater audience reach. Some ideas to connect include collaborating with national bodies that develop health standards and guidelines, national charities, pharmaceutical companies, and consumer groups. A quick Google and LinkedIn search will get you started.
Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash
2. Connect with other advocates who are raising awareness about similar topics and support each other. Search for profiles with keywords on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tiktok. If you feel that you can offer each other mutual support, don’t be afraid to ask for a Zoom meeting to ‘meet’. I have met some of the most incredible people just by being brave and organising an online meeting. The incredible late Nicole Cooper @nicolecoopy was one of these people for me. Before you connect it is helpful to be clear on how you would like to work with the other person or how you can also support their mission. Be prepared and do some research on their story and their mission and have some questions ready.
3. Link in with community organisations to share your story, to help locals. Some examples include women’s and men’s groups, schools, universities, local speaking events, and your local council. When you are starting out in the advocacy space be prepared to do quite a lot of reaching out and follow-up. Your story is important, persistence is key.
Photo by Small Group Network on Unsplash
4. Be active on your socials. I have a ‘personal policy’, that if I can help just one person by sharing my story, – then I have succeeded.
5. Don’t forget to give each other a shout-out on your socials. We can achieve more by supporting each other. A few authentic words of encouragement will go a long way to help a fellow advocate.
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