This week we held a drop-in event in Parliament for MPs. The event was a huge success, with around 40 MPs attending, including Sharon Hodgson MP (pictured above), and engaging in the issues that are important to our community
It is easy for these types of events to just be a cheap photo call. However, that’s not the way we do things at The Brain Tumour Charity
When we engage with an MP, be it at a meeting, a drop-in session or a party conference we ask for their support to do things that will truly benefit our community or to help us understand an issue better.
This could be submitting an Early Day Motion to gauge support on an issue or recognise some good work, a Parliamentary Question to help highlight an inequality, or an introduction to someone that may be able to support our work but we cannot open that door alone.
What was clear on Wednesday was that our cause is extremely hard hitting in nature, especially when those in power are exposed to the personal stories and statistics that surround this disease. We drew out a lot of information from our comprehensive quality of life studies that we have produced over the last few years, with the support of thousands of patients & carers.
These stats really speak for themselves and include such shocking facts as:
- 9 out of 10 people said their tumour had affected their emotional or mental health.
- 1 in 2 people experience financial difficulty.
- 31% visited a healthcare professional five or more times prior to diagnosis
MPs were clearly impressed with the reports and the work that we, together with our community, have done to help address these issues.
- Improved access to clinical nurse specialists,
- Better treatments available in the NHS,
- Reduced diagnosis times in children
- A benefits clinic helping people every week get access to the assistance they require.
This is really why an event like this is so important, because once you highlight the issues facing our community to MPs, they are keen to help in any way that they can. MPs, outside of those with Ministerial responsibility, may not wield a tremendous amount of power, but they do hold a huge amount of influence, and are often keen to use their position for the good of legitimate and meaningful causes.
Another take home message for us was that personal experiences and stories resonate, and are one of the best ways to illustrate why we must strive to improve life today for people affected by this disease, sooner rather than later.
What we did on Wednesday was highlight that brain tumours cannot wait for change, it must happen now, and by working together we can all see that change happen.