This October marks three years since the publication and application of Suara's Guide for accompanying people with cancer: October 2018 saw the culmination of the work done by a group of people from the organisation who had suffered cancer and others who had accompanied colleagues in this process, with the objectives of supporting, raising awareness, guiding and identifying situations that could be improved. Through this first-person article, Suara's cancer support team takes stock of these three years.
The company is made up of people, and where there is life, there is illness.
Rosa, Maria, Ana... Three years after the presentation of the "Guide for accompanying people with cancer", the list continues to grow... Today, we take stock of our experiences and ask ourselves: What has changed in Suara? What has been the impact of the guide on people's lives? We want to stop and reflect with all of you.
Some might say that the guide has been a success: we have received awards, congratulations, we have been interviewed and invited to events. But for us, what is really important is not the awards (which are very good because they highlight the value of the work done), but the little things in our daily lives, the awareness that the simplest things are the most extraordinary, being able to leave behind the "what I have to do", the protocols and hierarchies to think about "what can I do for her". To stop and think about the person who is ill, to ask them directly what they need, with no other desire than just to be there, to let them know that we are by their side. It may sound easy to say, but it is not easy to do, because in order to do so, people and teams have to face fear, uncertainty, insecurity and lack of experience of the situation.
And this is where the real success of the guide lies. To this day, no one has ever wanted to stand on the sidelines. All the people who have faced cancer in Suara have been involved to the best of their ability, giving what they have, little or a lot, but always out of willingness and empathy, which has a greater impact than big corporate actions.
We live in a society where people suffering from cancer, many of them women, have great difficulty finding work, keeping their job or getting a promotion. Let alone accessing health insurance, a mortgage or a loan... We must be aware that all of us are in this roulette of life, we are human and we have to naturalise that we will be vulnerable at some point in our life cycle. We are not invincible, cancer can knock on our door at any moment.
Suara is a living reflection of society and, from the social responsibility that characterises us, we want to change reality through our actions. We do not want to close our eyes to the situation of millions of people suffering from cancer or who have already overcome it.
Based on these reflections, Suara launched this guide three years ago. We opened a door to another way of living with cancer and other serious physical and mental illnesses. We cannot leave the disease, whatever it may be, at home... nor its physical and emotional consequences. We carry them all with us wherever we go, and we learn to accept them. We have to be able to live with illness normally in all areas, and work has an important place in our lives.
Companies are the people who make them up, and as the title of this article says, where there is life, there is illness. To heal companies, we have to integrate the disease as part of the company, not only the physical overcoming of cancer, but the integration of the realities that arise within the organisation.
Thank you all for making this possible.
Suara Cancer Support Team