Cancer Advocacy Through Videos
I have had lung cancer for eight years. One thing that puzzled me is how few people who were not affected by cancer knew about the lives of cancer patients, the recent development of cancer research, and the challenges of communicating with cancer patients. I put much effort into writing about these topics but felt it was insufficient. Then I have a new idea.1
Inspired by Chinese mini-video clips
I happened to see some Chinese videos that were just three minutes long a year ago. I didn't feel much at the time except that life was so different from 30 years ago when I was there.
Until one day, it dawned on me. Why didn't I make the three-minute video clips of my cancer journey, like my diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship?
The purpose is three-fold: if the audience is cancer patients, I can share my life-changing experience so others don't feel alone and show my real life with cancer.
Thirdly, according to the American Cancer Society, between every two adults, one experiences cancer in their adult life in America. In Canada, two out of five adults are struggling with cancer.2,3
So, it was then that I decided to make video clips about cancer.
It took me six months to decide whether to make the video clips. I anticipated many difficulties and scenarios, such as "Am I ready to share my cancer experience in public?" "What do my husband and children think about it?" One more thought that occurs to all cancer patients when planning anything is, "Do I have the time before my cancer flare?"
I am grateful for the support of my husband and children. However, it did take me a while to decide to put myself in front of the audience and publicize my cancer journey.
Material preparation was an easy part, but not for me. It took me another six months to get ready.
First, I bought equipment, like wireless microphones, video lights, and UBeesize (selfie ring light head with tripod). The most challenging part was using a series of software related to making the video and audio with limited computer speed and storage.
It's not easy for a "computer illiterate" like me because it's new territory. Looking back, I've overcome several hurdles, learned a lot, and am proud of myself.
I finally launched my video clips about my cancer journey on July 11 on my Facebook page, and I posted six videos in over one month. The responses are overwhelming, especially in my messages. I also got more than 2,000 views of my video clips.
People gave me a lot of encouragement and welcomed my initiation to make these video clips. Some friends applauded me for putting so much effort into the work.
Indeed, it can be time-consuming and tiring. One of my friends praised my English as fluent and clear, which means a lot to me since I had Broca's Aphasia. Though I'm recovering daily, it affects my ability to speak due to my cancer metastasizing to the brain.
I'm so touched that a few patients thanked me for my videos and wrote, "I really want my journey to be as meaningful as yours. I want to know how and where to start. I feel intimidated." I felt this when I started advocacy, so I publicly talked and wrote about my advocacy experience.
If one can "take fewer detours" by watching my video clips, it's worth it. However, I can understand now why advocates don't want to talk much about their experiences. Everybody has different backgrounds, and it's crucial to advocate suitable for you.
It was a success in launching the video clips for cancer advocacy. Although there were some hurdles, it was worth it for the purpose.
Do you have any questions or requests? Let me know in the comments.
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