Alim was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2001, followed by two further diagnoses in the next 3 years. As part of his treatment, he took a drug called Cisplatin which Cancer Research UK played a vital role in developing.
Now a father-of-two, he is keen to help raise awareness about cancer and the work of CRUK and recently won one of our Flame of Hope Awards for his support.
When did you start as a Media Volunteer?
I started as a Media Volunteer more than 10 years ago when I had signed up to run a 10k to raise money for CRUK, and I was asked to share my story to help raise awareness of the event. Cancer had shaken me – it is a trauma and I had not wanted to talk about it. I think I feared I would be seen as vulnerable if people knew, but I realised I wanted to do it for the 10k and it gave me strength. I found that it really helped me deal with my experience - I was proud to be raising awareness, and particularly amongst men.
What activities have you helped with?
I have helped in many ways by posters, some TV adverts, social media posts and a range of different campaigns over the years. I am very happy to give my time and I find it enjoyable and satisfying. Sometimes it might just take a few minutes to approve a paragraph and a picture for something, but sometimes it might be having some pictures taken or sending a video clip. I have said I will do whatever I can – we may not always know how a request might turn out, but I know that raising awareness is a big continuous project. I try not to say no, and you often don’t need to do a lot.
What have you enjoyed the most?
One of my favourite things has been a film we made for the build-up to Christmas one year as it also included my wife and two children. It was me that went through cancer, but it was lovely to bring them into the story and we made some fun video clips that were used in the final film. I hope it gave hope to others and I think it also helped raise awareness for my kids too. As a society, I think we talk more about cancer than when I was a child and I think that this is great for normalising talk about cancer so that children will be more aware as they grow up.
What is it like working with the CRUK team?
The Media Volunteer Liaison team are very supportive and accommodating. I always get asked if I am ok to do things and they are flexible and not pushy. They also check things before they go out, or I can ask questions at any time. I sense that they always care that it’s my story, not theirs.
Do you feel you are helping?
I really do feel that I am part of the team helping to beat cancer. CRUK has great visibility as an organisation, and it is having a huge impact on research. By being involved as a Media Volunteer with different projects, I feel I am part of the progress. We can see this progress happening with the updates we see about science and that work is happening here at CRUK because of its supporters.
Would you recommend it to others?
I get a great feeling from being a Media Volunteer. I love it and I will continue to do as much as I can. And it works – someone came up to me when I was coaching at my son’s football team as they had seen the ads and recognised me from the campaign I had done – it showed me that the awareness was working and that people were really connecting with it.
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) to hand.