03 Sep Essex Man Shortlisted for Award for Improving Cancer Care in the County in Last Months of His Life
A man from Chelmsford has been shortlisted for a national award recognising his outstanding contribution to cancer services in Essex.
Mike got in touch with Healthwatch Essex in November 2018 because he wanted to ‘give something back’ and help improve cancer care for people in Mid and South Essex.
A former NHS Trust Director, Mike was too unwell to work but wanted to volunteer some of his time to Healthwatch’s Cancer Patient Partner project, which helps to design new local services.
Mike was particularly passionate about the need for greater support during treatment and improvements in communication. He also advocated strongly for patients to be treated as real people, often saying “Cancer is just one part of my life, not all of it!”.
By being open and honest about his own diagnosis, Mike encouraged others to take the opportunity to speak up about how services could better meet people’s needs.
The last contribution he made to the project before he passed away in May 2019 was to participate in a panel event during ‘Dying Matters’ week. Mike and his wife, Sarah, talked about the difficulty of preparing for end of life and the importance of being ‘ready’. This was shared across Essex during the awareness week to encourage more conversations about what people and their families need from end of life care.
This month he has been shortlisted for a national Healthwatch Network Award in the category of ‘Outstanding Individuals Who Have Made a Difference.’ The winner will be announced in Birmingham on 1 October 2019.
Communications Lead at Healthwatch Essex, Rachel Horton-Smyth, said:
“It is always special when someone gives of their time to help change health and social care for the better, but it is particularly extraordinary and selfless to do so when you have been given a terminal diagnosis and you know that time is short.
“In his final few weeks, Mike told Healthwatch that he wanted the team to use everything he shared about his experience to try and effect change for other people affected by cancer, which we intend to do.
“Mike was a truly inspirational man and the Healthwatch community is incredibly grateful to him and his family for everything they did to try and make other people’s cancer journeys better. We are very pleased that he is being recognised nationally for the work he did with us.”
For more information about those shortlisted for the award visit: https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/news/2019-08-29/shortlist-showcase-outstanding-individuals-who’ve-made-difference