The Thyroid Trust is for people affected by all thyroid disorders, which includes thyroid cancers.
Our Director, Lorraine Williams, attended the first WECAN Academy, 6th-9th July 2019 in Frankfurt, along with our Chair of Trustees, Judith Taylor, who is also Secretary and Director to Thyroid Cancer Alliance and a member of the WECAN organising committee. Lorraine was sponsored by the umbrella organisation, Thyroid Cancer Alliance, which we are members of.
There were 103 delegates of varying levels of experience. It was a fantastic opportunity for us, as such a new organisation and huge thanks go to Judith and TCA for arranging for TTT to attend, meet peers from all over Europe and learn a huge amount, about: effective advocacy, using research and data, understanding healthcare systems, developing key skills and good governance.
The event was exceptionally well organised and took place in a very good venue, close to the airport, in the forest. It was so nice to be able to step outside for a few moments for breath of fresh air, or a quick walk, between sessions, and to be able to eat our meals outside amongst the trees. On the second night we walked, en masse, for 20 minutes, through the forest, to a restaurant. It was truly magical and a nice way to get to know each other a little and share our impressions of the course. This opportunity to move and be in nature as part of the whole experience was very welcome - we needed it, to be able to stay fresh and focused!
Judith delivered an excellent presentation on how to develop good content and patient materials, which was very well received. Lorraine was particularly interested to learn about the potential to have our materials accredited and plan to investigate this further.
The other sessions Lorraine found most useful were those on understanding the healthcare system framework and using evidence and quality of life measurements to improve access to treatments. The talks all had a very practical slant with lots of specific tips and signposting to further resources.
Lorraine is looking forward to following up with some of the people she met who were kind enough to offer to talk further after the course, such as UK speakers: Daniel Ratchford of Quality Health, on research and Zack Pemberton Whitely of Leukemia Care and Acute Leukemia Advocates Network (ALAN), on advocacy.
It was great to have the chance to spend time with some of our fellow Thyroid Cancer Alliance members who we had met previously at the British Thyroid Association Conference in Newcastle last year too. We are so glad to be part of a supportive and growing network of powerful voices for patients.