Humans have been telling stories since time began to share knowledge and ideas and to maintain culture across generations. An effective Advocate can add this to their toolkit to communicate effective messages that will resonate with an audience, building trust and understanding. Telling stories has the power to influence by helping people make connections to WHY something matters and motivate people to take action.
Know the issue
Community is at the heart of our advocacy work. Together we aim to shape and influence policy and practice to reduce cancer risks and improve cancer care.
Almost 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Cancer survival has improved by almost 40% over the past 30 years. However, inequities in outcomes by cancer type and population groups have widened and a growing cancer survivor population requires supportive care.
Knowing these facts, how motivated are you to take action on this issue? Knowing facts is often not enough to move people to take action.
Connect to the issue.
Barry DuBois, diagnosed with myeloma in 2010, tells us how “treatment saved my life” before speaking to the birth of his twin daughters and how one of his priorities in life is to watch them grow up.
Leon Dale, diagnosed with brain cancer, speaks to being “…lucky enough to connect with Cancer Council’s Hospital Liaison at my hospital. We got to know each other very well over 6-7 months, and she helped me navigate a lot of the challenges that cancer threw at me, which was amazing.” He talks about some of those challenges such as having young children when you are going through treatment.
Veronica Leonardo, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, says “I was especially worried about my future. I’d only been married for 18 months at that point, and the diagnosis came at a time when we were considering having children.” Her story speaks of the difficulties she faced and the support she was able to access.
These three stories highlight the personal experience and the importance of access to treatment and support services. This helps us understand why we need to make sure that everyone has access to the highest standards of cancer care and treatment.
Telling stories creates community and connection. An authentic and relatable story shows people that they are not alone. Other people may have felt the same things you feel, and hearing that someone has had a similar experience will inspire others to speak out as well. In the article, What makes storytelling so effective for learning, Vanessa Boris explains that when it comes to our communities and families, it is the stories we hold in common that are the important ties to bring people together. Effective advocacy can use stories to create a sense of connection building trust in a community and helping people to understand why the issue you are advocating on needs to change and inspiring people to take action.