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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Caprice, The Sun, Greg Smith MP, being focused and Christmas Cards - Campaigning news update

by Hugh Adams

It was an exciting weekend with our patron, supermodel and brain tumour patient, Caprice featuring in The Sun on Saturday, with the piece also being picked up online by The Mail and The Mirror. You can read the piece here.

Occasionally I receive an email from someone questioning why we work with newspapers that aren’t the preferred choice of media for everyone. My response is always the same – brain tumours are indiscriminate and, however you choose to get your news will have no influence on whether you are diagnosed with this disease. It is not my job to question the editorial position of a newspaper, but it is my job, and the job my colleagues in our PR team, to raise awareness of brain tumours and the need for improved research funding wherever and whenever we can because people cannot support a cause if they don’t know it exists.

We have had a long-standing relationship with The Sun, (they published a double-page spread about paediatric brain tumours in 2016 – you can read it here) and it is one I am very proud of because it has helped us reach millions of people we may not have otherwise reached, it has enabled tens of thousands of pounds to come to Brain Tumour Research and many celebrities have come to us through their connection to Nicki Waterman, a wonderful woman so sadly missed, who has had a huge role in the growth of our charity – you can read about Nicki here.

As well as outlets like The Sun, the role of local media is vital to our cause too, and having read The Sun last Saturday I joined Sue, (our Chief Exec) and our local MP Greg Smith for a quick photo opportunity (with me taking the photos) to promote another piece of tireless fundraising that Sue has been undertaking. This time it was the 20 for 20 challenge – I hope to see it in our local paper. A good way of keeping up with Sue’s fundraising is her LinkedIn page. If you’d like to connect to Sue or to connect to me on LinkedIn then send a connection request mentioning that you are a brain tumour campaigner – it’s a good way to keep in the loop as to what we are both up to.

Going back to Greg Smith, our MP, when we were chatting, he said that he receives upward of 300 emails a day relating to constituency business – Wow!

The House is having a week off next week and so MPs may well be sifting through their email mountains.

So, if you haven’t already, please do add to that mountain today with a request that your MP joins us at the next APPG on brain tumours- I know I ask this every week but it is so, so important.

Here is a suggested message;

The ‘Reducing the burden’ APPG on brain tumours will be taking place on Tuesday 10th November from 09:00 – 10:30 and will be chaired by Derek Thomas MP. An invitation, agenda and briefing document from the charity Brain Tumour Research who provide the APPG’s secretariat will be forthcoming in due course. As your constituent, and as someone who is passionate about improving options and outcomes for brain tumour patients I am asking if you could please make space in your diary and join that meeting. It would be hugely appreciated.

To find your MPs email address click here.

Asking your MP to attend the APPG is a focused request requiring a binary response – “Yes, I will attend” – “No I won’t be able to attend”.

I’ve been thinking about the balance between strategic thinking and task-focused working. I spend quite a lot of time at meetings with people who could be described as strategists – they talk in terms of the bigger picture and are able to explore huge issues with wide-ranging implications. They litter their conversation with phrases like ‘real-world data’ and ‘instigating a consultative process’. This is all very valid but what does it mean and what difference will it make? We must take the strategic and drill down to a granular level – (oh no I’m doing it myself now!) and ask what do we want and how are we going to get it.

This is certainly true with petitions for example. Many are written fuelled by emotion and outrage but there is a danger that they are unfocused and abstract. A petition needs to ask a question and not just describe a situation.

A description may elicit a response, and that response may be empathy or even sympathy but it isn’t a concrete answer or action. A petition that asks a question demands a binary response “do you agree or not, and if you do then are you supporting our course of action”.

Please do think about this if you are thinking of putting together a petition and Brain Tumour Research will be more than happy to help and support if we can. I am a big fan of petitions, particularly the government e-petitions, and of course our own #braintumourpetition  (20K signatures and counting!). This direct approach is also helpful when writing to MPs so remember what you want from them it isn’t only an empathic ear, it is action. So, tell them that – tell them you want them to attend the APPG on Tuesday 10th November.

That’s the way I see it this week and of course, if you’d like to feedback please do. You can email me, or connect via LinkedIn and message me there. If you think these emails are great you could even send me a Christmas card at the office and may I recommend this terrific selection available now from Brain Tumour Research -  Give hope with every card this Christmas.

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