Our media volunteers help raise awareness of cancer and the work of CRUK. Here, Nilesh Jhala tells us about his family’s experience of sharing their stories. Nilesh and his mum Jayshree have both had cancer and recently featured in CRUK’s Legacy campaign.
How did you first get involved with CRUK?
My mum had actually come forward to share her story first and had been asked to help with awareness as part of a CRUK campaign. Mary from the Media Volunteer Liaison team came round to do some filming, and I was there to make sure my mum was looked after. It was clear mum was going to be ok and then I got talking to Mary about my own experience. She asked if I would be interested in helping and I was delighted to say yes.
Did you have any concerns?
I think it was reassuring to see that mum was already doing it! It showed me what was involved and I did not hesitate. I am very open about my experience and, as a family, we are happy to give back in whatever way we can. I would definitely encourage other people to do it. I think it actually helps me on a personal level too – it has been good to talk about things so they aren’t hidden away.
What have you helped with?
I have been involved in a few campaigns now. Recently we did some filming for the Legacy campaign which was very relaxed and informal, and it also opened my eyes to how much is raised through Legacy donations.
One of the most memorable things I have done was when I spoke to CRUK staff. It was different to filming as you could see the reactions of people in the audience – it was an amazing response and I felt very accomplished afterwards.
What support have you had?
I have always had good support from the Media Volunteer Liaison team. They explain what is going to happen and then you can ask them any questions any time. When we did the last piece of filming, I was asked regularly if I was ok and I could say at any time if I was not comfortable.
What have you learned?
As I have done a few different things, I think it has been really interesting to see how awareness is raised in different environments – my story has featured through a film at big fundraising events, which was great, but also in leaflets and on social media. There are so many different audiences and ways of reaching people!
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud that my mum and I are representing our community – cancer is a taboo subject in the Asian community and awareness is very low. That has been a great reason to be motivated to help.
Share your story
Applying to be a media volunteer will take about 30 minutes. Before you start, please have details of your cancer experience, diagnosis, and treatments (as applicable) on hand.