Alex's story

“Before I saw the Macmillan Social Prescribing service I felt lost, I didn’t know what to do, who to turn to. It gave me direction”

A smiling man in a blue cap and a red hoodie looks at the camera

Alex is a young professional living in Tower Hamlets who is being treated for a brain tumour. He had three 1:1 sessions at the Bromley by Bow Centre

 

“When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour I felt very lost. I didn’t really know who to speak to and it was tough with friends and family. I called the Macmillan Information and Advice Line and they told me about the Social Prescribing Service in my area so I got in touch.

It was nice to know that there was some sort of structure and support out there. The NHS can be quite clinical and they don’t always have time for pastoral care. I was expecting some sort of ‘you’ve got cancer’ welcome pack and obviously that didn’t happen. The Macmillan Social Prescribing Service has been the most useful service I’ve encountered during my treatment – the best thing about the whole process. You’re battling things which you don’t know if you can change and you don’t know where you stand in life. What you need is a professional who is willing to listen to your concerns but also be pragmatic in terms of advice and lead you to other services and that’s what I found in this service.

I found my sessions with the Macmillan Social Prescribing Service amazing. My Social Prescriber was the one person I feel like I connected with. They were professional and yet really personal. I went from feeling really low to thinking that there was support and advice out there.They helped me to think about what steps I could take to move forward and gave me lots of practical advice too. I felt isolated and worried but they just broke it down into tangible steps. When you’re diagnosed you think – now what? No one really knows how you feel but my Social Prescriber was so welcoming and set out everything in really easy terms and just helped me to take my mind off things day to day.

I found out about complementary therapies through the service. The massages are great! I was also connected to financial and benefit advice and through that I successfully applied for Personal Independence Payment and got a freedom pass. I also had a few sessions with a physio. There were lots of other welcome and useful suggestions about support groups and psychology workshops which I haven’t pursued but are good to know are there.

The most important thing to me about the sessions was the reassuring contact with someone who was willing to listen to me. Not just as a professional but as a person. The recommendations they made were to really good services.

Now I’m halfway through my chemo sessions. I went from being in a place of darkness to being more active and getting on with life and that’s a massive turning point. Before I saw the Macmillan Social Prescribing service I felt lost, I didn’t know what to do, who to turn to. It gave me more direction – sorting out the fundamentals of finance and how I felt and that was a platform for getting back into life and enjoying stuff a bit more. It’s a holistic support service, it does the soft support side but also the solid kind of advice too. It was massive, I can’t overestimate or overvalue it. I’m getting back to a new normal now. A ‘normal’ life in terms of my job and my social life. I’m sure it’s going to be a tough road but I feel I can help myself from here.”

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