For many people, coping with a difficult life experience is made a little easier by talking to someone who already has been through a similar situation.
Surveys by the Leukaemia Foundation have revealed the desire by people newly diagnosed with a blood cancer or related blood disorder to talk to other people with first-hand experience. To help meet this need, the Foundation established Blood Buddies, which adds another arm to our extensive support program.
Blood Buddies is a phone-based peer support program. It matches and connects those diagnosed with blood cancer (or those caring for a person with blood cancer) with a trained volunteer who has had blood cancer (or cared for somebody with blood cancer).
Blood Buddies volunteers offer non-judgmental reassurance, support, encouragement and hope. No aspect of the Blood Buddies program is intended to guide medical treatment decision-making.
People who are referred to this service are matched, according to several key indicators, with a trained volunteer – known as a ‘Buddy’. As a mentor, a Buddy shares their personal experience of how life changed for them, what treatment was like, and strategies they used to help them get through a difficult circumstance with a positive attitude.
Simply talking to someone else who has ‘been there and done that’, can mean you feel less alone and more able to manage your health.
Blood Buddies volunteers are in a unique position – one that is quite different from health professionals and support agencies – in the sort of support and assistance they can provide to others.
Elle’s Blood Buddy gave her hope
Elle Halliwell (below, with son Tor and husband Nick) participated in Blood Buddies after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia – while pregnant. The program put Elle in touch with another mum who had been on a very similar journey to inspire and support her during pregnancy.
“I’m really grateful to the Leukaemia Foundation. It’s made a difference and meant I haven’t felt alone.”
Blood Buddies aims to:
- Improve outcomes for people diagnosed with blood cancer by connecting them with a trained volunteer who has survived blood cancer and who can offer short-term one-to-one emotional support.
- Support and empower families and friends through these connections.
- Offer hope and encouragement by speaking to a person who has survived similar diseases, treatments and situations.
- Reduce barriers that prevent people physically attending peer support events or groups, such as the risk of infection or geographic location.
- Add to the support options offered by the Foundation to people recently diagnosed with blood cancer (and their families/friends) by providing increased services.
- Provide training and ongoing support to Blood Buddies volunteers to safeguard their physical and emotional wellbeing while they are contributing to the program.
For more information about the Blood Buddies peer support program and to register your interest in becoming a Buddy or in being matched with a Buddy, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 007 343.