If you are an empowered patient, working with you physician on your own treatment or involved with a support group, online or in person, you are already an advocate. Some men decide to go beyond support advocacy to make a difference by doing research, fundraising, legislative or other forms of advocacy.
Winston Dyer is one of those men. He is active helping the men in his community by giving support but he has carried his advocacy beyond support. He recently wrote how he began his advocacy experience.
“On May 17, 1995, I underwent a radical prostatectomy to remove my prostate gland at Long Island College Hospital in New York City. The next day, my work in patient advocacy began from my hospital bed with my first radio interview. My friend, who is a host on a Caribbean radio show, called me while I was in the hospital to see how I was doing. While we were on the phone, we decided to go on the air and answer questions from listeners about prostate cancer and promote awareness of the disease. I quickly became the go-to guy for Caribbean men all over the city who are experiencing prostate problems.”
He lists six tips that he has learned along the way:
1. Take advantage of every opportunity.
2. Make yourself available.
3. Be patient and understanding.
4. Help dispel myths.
5. Network and make connections.
6. Get involved in support and advocacy organizations.
These simple appearing steps are the basis of all good advocates. These are things that we can all do whether we are involved with groups or working as individuals.
This short article is something that anyone interested in learning what being an advocate is all about.
You just need to look around where you are. What can you do using your own personal skills and experiences to make a difference.