Israel’s story

I’m able to express myself and they take it on board. I know where to find help.

Israel, a Newham resident in his 60s, originally from Nigeria, met with the Macmillan Social Prescribing Service for four face-to-face sessions at the Stratford Advice Arcade. 

In his initial session, Israel’s main concerns were around identifying and accessing physical activities and addressing some financial problems. During the sessions, Israel and his Macmillan Social Prescriber discussed coming to terms with his diagnosis, the impact on relationships, and the practical and physical concerns he had. Israel initially had some misconceptions about prostate cancer and couldn’t comprehend how he had acquired it. He read up on his condition and understood that his cancer was not linked to behaviour and that his particular kind of cancer was especially common amongst black men of African and Caribbean origin.

Israel found that many of his friends also had misconceptions about prostate cancer and so had not been there for him when he needed them. He decided that he wanted to speak to friends and fellow church goers and tell them about what he had learnt about prostate cancer to debunk some myths about the condition and also encourage people to get tested. In his next session Israel revealed that he had got up in front of 40 people at church and talked to them about prostate cancer - something he felt very proud of.

As Israel is also pre-diabetic, he had been told by his doctors about the importance of doing regular exercise. Israel and his SP discussed ways of incorporating exercise with leisure. Together they identified a table tennis club at his local library and Israel attended a few times, playing games against local young people. He also wanted to find a way to relax and so was referred to the Bromley by Bow Centre to take part in the yoga sessions for people living with or beyond cancer. Israel had never tried yoga before but said, “I love it. After I finish it I feel relaxed and calm. I feel like my body has done good work”.

To address some of his financial difficulties, Israel’s Social Prescriber referred him to the Macmillan Welfare & Advice service at Toynbee Hall. They identified that he could be eligible for Attendance Allowance and helped him to complete an application. He was also awarded a £400 Macmillan Patient grant.

At the close of the sessions, Israel talked about how his knowledge of local services had increased and that he would not have been able to access these without the support of the Macmillan Social Prescribing Service.