Advocating for Change: Cara’s Story of Support

Advocating for Change: Cara’s Story of Support

For Western University student Cara Grobbecker, a long-term goal to improve patient care through a future career in medicine and a spring 2013 work-study partnership with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has led to uncovering a personal passion for making impact for the brain tumour community. And, after finishing the work-study partnership with her Global Health Promotion class, Cara has committed her volunteer time to help develop the organization’s advocacy program.

“I stayed involved after the class project because I was genuinely impressed by the organization; it had an impact on me. I was inspired by the work to ensure that everyone affected by a brain tumour receives the care and information they need. And the impact that the volunteers make encouraged me to remain involved,” she explains.

“I believe that the statement, ‘action is always better than inaction,’ is incredibly true and if we all did something, no matter how small, to positively affect change, we could make a huge difference.”

Cara’s volunteer efforts have focused on Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s growing advocacy efforts by conducting research and helping to improve online tools for patients and families to make their voices heard. “I hope that my work will help raise awareness, empower those affected by a brain tumour to advocate for themselves, and help make that process more accessible so that ultimately we can improve the quality of life of patients and families.”

She explains that the goal of her efforts is to, “make the processes to collectively tell the story of brain tumours to decision-makers easier, so that all patients and families feel supported and able to help.” One project Cara has been instrumental in developing is the 2013 Brain Tumour Awarness Month 'My Story, Your Story - Let's Tell Government' campaign to share stories of impact with Ministers of Health across Canada.

“The process for gaining access to resources or changing public policy should not be difficult,” she says. “Dealing with a brain tumour is a tremendous obstacle to overcome on its own, so the process of gaining access to services and getting the ear of government should be as easy as possible.”

When asked about her hope for the future Cara doesn’t hesitate. “My ultimate hope would be the discovery of a cause and a cure, but until then I hope that patients and families get the care they need – be that emotional support, information, treatment, home care, or changing public policy to make these things happen – with little else to support the cause by raising awareness, empowering others by sharing their stories, and supporting each other.”

“Additionally, I look forward to further research, specifically the development of the Canadian Brain Tumour Registry. I feel it is extremely important as it will be the only complete set of data of its kind in Canada and it will help to ensure equal access to treatment, as every individual with a brain tumour deserves to have the support and care they need.”

And interestingly, Cara feels strongly about highlighting the fact that an immediate personal connection to the cause is not a requirement for involvement or passion. “You do not have to be personally affected by a brain tumour to understand the strength of this community – a brain tumour could affect any one of us and it is important to support each other on the way to finding a cure.”

 

Thank you Cara for everything you do to help patients and families affected by a brain tumour.

Learn more about how you can help Advocacy efforts and learn about all the ways volunteers help to make a difference every day.

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Story posted: September 2013


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