We promoted Better Safe Than Tumour in Scottish Parliament
In Brain Tumour Awareness Month (BTAM), we hosted an event in Edinburgh at Scottish Parliament. We wanted to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours to Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and explore how they could help us with our Better Safe than Tumour campaign.
We had five wonderful volunteers on the day; three of our Young Ambassadors, a member of our Scottish Steering committee and one of our Involvement Champions. Our Ambassadors, Committee Members and Champions represent the brain tumour community, using their own experiences of being affected by a brain tumour diagnosis to help shape our work.
The campaigners passionately shared their experiences of living with or having a loved one affected by a brain tumour with MSPs and discussed why we need to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms to improve diagnosis rates. Following the event, we caught up with Heather, Donald and Madelaine to find out their thoughts on the drop-in.
What we set out to accomplish
Prior to the event, Donald said he wanted MSPs to learn about the Better Safe Than Tumour campaign and how they can help spread awareness. Expressing that “the need for increased awareness of brain tumours is crucial in helping with faster diagnosis and what to do if you are concerned either for a loved one or yourself.”
Heather added that she wanted to “emphasise the importance of faster diagnosis and raise awareness of the areas that need to be improved both in people’s diagnosis experience and with their support options throughout treatment and afterwards.”
Meanwhile, Madelaine wanted to speak about the importance of BTAM and how it is of “crucial importance to everyone involved with The Charity, with the month of March placing further attention and significance upon the work of the charity, people’s personal experiences, and what change we hope to see before next year’s awareness month.”
Our volunteers share their favourite moments
With this being the first parliamentary event that many of our volunteers attended, each of them wanted to say what they most enjoyed about the drop-in.
Meeting different people from the charity was a particular highlight for Heather and Madelaine. Madelaine adding that being affected by a brain tumour can be an isolating experience, “so the chance to connect with others and share our stories builds a sense of community and support in the face of overwhelming adversity.”
An overarching theme our campaigners expressed was the enjoyment of speaking with the MSPs. Donald stating, “The event was so insightful, with MSPs engaged with the issues we raised.”
“It was incredibly rewarding to be able to speak to the many MSPs who attended, about early diagnosis and to explain to them just how big an impact a brain tumour can have on not only the patient’s life but their loved ones as well,” said Heather.
As a student of politics, Madelaine was particularly appreciative for the opportunity to talk with Maree Todd MSP, the Minister for Social Care, about our goals and vision for tackling brain tumours.
A positive event for Brain Tumour Awareness Month
Overall, the event was a great success. As highlighted by our campaigners, the MSPs who attended were very engaged with the issues that were raised and keen to take the Better Safe Than Tumour symptom cards that were on offer.
Donald hopes that sharing his own story “will help motivate MSPs to lobby the Scottish Parliament on The Brain Tumour Charity’s behalf.” With nearly 3 in 4 adults unable to name a single symptom of a brain tumour, Heather would like to see “continued engagement from the MSPs who ‘dropped in’ to follow up in their constituencies to determine where the gaps are in terms of brain tumour awareness.”
Madelaine concluded by advocating for MSPs to share their attendance and facts around brain tumours on their social media channels to raise awareness of the Better Safe Than Tumour campaign.
Share your story and help push for change
Interested in sharing your experience of being affected by a brain tumour? Become one of our campaigners today!
By taking part in our engagement work, you’ll help us create the change needed to raise awareness of brain tumour symptoms and achieve faster diagnosis.