Our Policy & Public Affairs Manager Cameron Miller outlines why 2017 was a fantastic year for the Policy Team at The Brain Tumour Charity
We worked with the incredible Shona Richardson and Alexander Stewart MSP to secure a debate in the Scottish Parliament and we established the Policy Involvement Group (PING) to ensure the voice of our community is at the heart of all the work that we do.
We also worked with partners abroad as we gave evidence to the Senate Committee in Australia into cancers with low survival rates and celebrated with our friends at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in Australia as they secured a A$100m investment into brain tumour research.
Additionally, we met with many MPs, MSPs, Welsh Assembly Members and Councillors to discuss the cause and gather their support and surveyed 300 people on the financial impact of brain tumours whilst establishing an e-campaigning network so that those personally affected can share their stories in the most powerful way possible.
We worked with other charities to create the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce fighting for those vastly unrepresented disease areas who need drastic improvements and that is all in addition to promoting the things that were important to our community during the snap 2017 General Election which saw over 750 people sign a petition calling for fairer bereavement benefits.
Yet this isn’t enough. We need many years in succession to make an indent in this awful disease.
It’s why The Brain Tumour Charity has a strategy, because we need to hit the mark time and time again to ensure that we are making the difference required to improve things.
So I want to set out a few New Year’s resolutions from us to you, to make it clear that 2018 will be that successive year we need to drive meaningful change.
Firstly. I would like to state that though I am proud of the above, a lot of it was foundation laying for the year to come, with us determined to finish what we have started.
This means that we will use what we learned in 2017 and apply it to make the biggest impact possible. This means that we will turn the financial impact data into meaningful calls to action where we can lobby for serious change, and we will work with the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce to ensure realistic and ambitious targets for the next cancer strategy that address the inequalities in outcomes for cancer patients currently.
This will also be part of our continuation to engage with a variety of key influencers to make sure we impress our cause on those in a position to make a real change.
In addition, we will continue to listen to our community and ensure that their voice is at the heart of what we do.
The Policy Involvement Group is already doing fantastic things, and has proven its value on many occasions over the last year, but we have even bigger plans for it in 2018 and we will be looking for them to direct our work and hold us to account for the work we do.
It is vital that this voice helps shape the plans for the next year, and that we help each other to focus on the priorities where we can make the biggest difference. We will be bringing this group together a few times over the year, and hope that this will strengthen its role as the heart of the Policy Team over the next year.
Finally, we promise you that we will fight for you. We know how bravely, humbly and modestly our community face their diagnosis on all fronts.
We won’t let up, we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we make the biggest possible impact in as many areas as possible. We will listen to every suggestion we get, and we will prioritise, but we won’t shirk our responsibility or duck an issue.
We are committed to dealing with complicated issues, because brain tumours are complicated and we must overcome challenges together to make progress.
If you want to be a part of this then please sign up now to be part of our campaigning network, and watch this space as we aspire to make 2018 a large step towards a better life for those with a brain tumour diagnosis.