How to Advocate for Yourself

How to Advocate for Yourself

What is Self-Advocacy and why is it important?

Self-advocacy is taking a proactive approach to being part of your healthcare team to ensure your needs are met and you are more in control to live your best life possible with cancer. It includes learning how to educate yourself with reliable information, knowing your rights, listening, and asking the right questions to make sound decisions. Being able to clearly communicate with others and feeling comfortable in making yourself heard are important. Reaching out to others when you need help is another form of self-advocacy and self-respect.

Bag It’s NEW publication Paths to Survivorship and other contents in your bag guide you on how to advocate for yourself from the moment of diagnosis and beyond.

How to Advocate for Yourself:

  • Use your Bag It My Companion Guidebook to organize and track your own information. It’s a handy reference and a good back up if something gets lost. Request copies of your records, labs and test results at every appointment. Store them in the 3-ring guidebook with the most recent on top.
  • Write down your questions before your appointment and then write down the answers.
  • Bring someone with you to every appointment. A second pair of ears is helpful. They can take notes or record what’s said (ask permission first).
  • Visit only reliable websites for cancer information. See Bag It’s resource page for more than 150 websites.

 

Resource topics include:

  • Types of Cancer
  • Clinical Trials
  • Side-Effects
  • Survivorship
  • Caregivers and Family Resources
  • Parenting and Fertility
  • Supportive Care—Emotional Support, Palliative Care, Complementary & Integrative Therapies
  • Insurance, Managing Costs, and Financial Assistance
  • Legal Rights, Workplace, Advance Care Planning
  • Resources in Spanish

 

If you were recently diagnosed:

  • Assemble and work closely with all the members of your healthcare team.
  • Learn about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options with potential side effects to help you make informed decisions about your treatment and care. Consider getting a second opinion.
  • Use the My Appointments Summary Log found in My Companion Guidebook to write down your questions in advance of appointments. Make sure you fully understand the answers provided and take notes.
  • Bring someone with you to every appointment, especially at the beginning.
  • Express fully and honestly what you need and want—to your healthcare team, caregivers, family members, and friends.
  • Watch our short “How to use the Bag It bag” video.
Beacon Group

Beacon Group

Written by Beacon Group…

For the last eight years, Beacon Group has assembled bags for Bag It, one of the country’s leading resource centers for cancer recovery that provides resources, tools, and services for patients, caregivers and advocates. The resource bags that Beacon puts together include a wide variety of materials that need to be collated, inserted and packaged in a specific way.

Beacon assembles over 8,000 bags per year, and that number is expected to grow as Bag It expands distribution across the country.   Teamwork was a big part of the process, especially when major changes for Bag It’s organization required production adjustments for a new bag design.  Flexibility and communication strengths from both sides contribute to the success of the arrangement.   Bag It’s executive director, Mindy Griffith, explains ”I like the idea that we are supporting individuals with disabilities of course.  But your service is phenomenal!  If we have questions, they are answered quickly.  If there are problems, they are taken care of.”

Read more…

Surviving, Thriving, & Empowering Others: Sherri’s Story

Surviving, Thriving, & Empowering Others: Sherri’s Story

By: Lori McNeill, Arizona Oncology

Sherri’s Story

“I was shocked.” This, perhaps not surprisingly, was Sherri Romanoski’s response to being told back in 2000, at the age of 48, that she had breast cancer.

“I was shocked.”

“It hit me hard. I was full of fear,” said Sherri.

Along with that fear can sometimes come a sense of powerlessness—how do I combat a disease I don’t fully understand?—and a lot of questions. What’s my cancer treatment plan? How long will it take? What can I do outside of the doctor’s appointments right now to help make a positive difference? How do I tell my family? What do I share, if anything, at work? What do I do about side effects? How am I going to pay for all these medications?

 

Read more . . .

Hope Helpers: Bag It

Hope Helpers: Bag It

Bag It is proud to be recognized in a new blog post by the Cancer Hope Network. Check out their blog post about our newly updated Bag It resources and exciting things to come.

Bag It has just released the newest version of our Bag It Bag, which features updated booklets, and all-new resourced titled Paths to Survivorship, and a new My Companion Guidebook with updated tools and strategies for organizing your information. Be sure to checkout our new Bag It resources. 

All-new Bag It resources

Thank you for helping to raise over $38,000 at the 15th Annual Take a Hike for BAG IT​

Thank you for helping to raise over $38,000 at the 15th Annual Take a Hike for BAG IT​

Wrap Up Collage
TAKE A HIKE + YOU =
A great fun filled Sunday morning at Catalina State Park celebrating 15 years of Take a Hike for Bag It ! Whether you joined us for a beautiful scenic morning, sponsored a bag from home, or were with us in spirit, we appreciate your support!
 
Dan Marries, Tucson News anchor, welcomed our hikers back to the Ramada that was rocking to the music from LatinoBazaar and encouraged them to join in on all the fun and activities! Guests enjoyed their meal choice from Gigi’s food truck, a chance to win fabulous prizes in the Raffle, Silent Auction, and Spin the Wheel and played “Where’s the Bag It bag.” Sandra Valenzuela, a volunteer that has been with Bag It from the very beginning shared about how she got started and why she continues to volunteer and support Bag It. We were able to say a big THANK YOU to founding board member, Dr. Don Brooks, who recently stepped down after 15 years of board service (don’t worry we’re going to keep him involved in some aspect) and acknowledged eight sponsors who have supported Bag It for all 15 years. With the help of 55 wonderful volunteers, 150 awesome attendees, and 19 generous sponsors, Bag It was able to raise over $38,000 to help EDUCATE, SUPPORT & EMPOWER those impacted by cancer.
SPONSOR A BAG

Sponsor a bag

These donations help ensure that anyone who wants a Bag It bag can receive one at no charge. If someone does not receive a bag from their medical provider and are unable to make a suggested donation they can call us and because of YOU we are able to send them a bag to help them be informed and feel empowered to be their own advocate.
Thank you for providing 60 individuals with cancer a bag through your Sponsor a Bag donations.
And the winner is . . . Rosa  Rousseau. Congratulations Rosa! We hope you have a great time when you journey to Phoenix.