Spring Photo Competition

We've been running these for a few years now, providing a nice distraction watching the wintery scenes turn to green and then into full bloom. So, from 1st of February why not snap away for a few weeks and email us your favourite pictures here, and we'll post them onto our gallery, towards a final judging date of May Day, Monday 1st of May.

This year we'll have just one "anything goes" category, so your photos could be of anything or anyone. We'll award the winner and two runners-up with a nice on-line prize of their choice. There's no rules and no fuss, just send us your picture that makes you happy!

Top Tips

Within upcoming newsletters we're going to start including regular 'top tips' to help those newly diagnosed and going through treatments, or who are into recovery. These Top Tips will be little snippets, however obvious, that might make a difference or simply offer comfort at a difficult time. If you have a Top Tip you'd like to share, just email it to me here and we'll include it in the next newsletter.

Today's Top Tip is simply to "make daily lists". A daily list can help in a variety of ways, if only a 'to-do list'. Keeping busy is really helpful when the chips are down, it helps us pass the time without dwelling on hard things, and makes sure we don't forget the important things, like collecting or taking medications, making and having meals, calling a friend or seeing a neighbour, or even the mundane like doing a food shop, watering the house plants, gentle hoovering and keeping things ship shape. I always include a daily walk on my list, however short - it's an important thing that keeps me well. I never used to write lists, but found that they've helped me get through some really difficult times.

What's Next?

There's quite a lot coming up, so here's a quick list!

  • 25th Jan, on behalf of OOSO I'll be chairing the National Audit of OG Cancers Patient Panel
  • 1st Feb, OOSO's small band of volunteers will be meeting with clinicians to discuss ways to enhance patient care (see Friends of OOSO below)
  • 6th Feb, we're hosting our next Café Catch Up at the Bicester Garden Centre from 12:30pm, if you would like to join us email me here
  • 7th Feb, we're hosting our 6-weekly zoom session, with special guest Dr Avery Kerry. If you're not on our invite list and you'd like to join our zoom sessions email me here
  • 8th Feb, on behalf of OOSO I'll be attending the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance as the Upper GI cancer patient rep.

Amazon Frown

Over the last couple of years we've taken part in the Amazon Smile scheme supporting small charities like ours with online dividends, but they've just informed us they intend to shut the scheme down, without a full explanation except suggesting charities take up other concessions they offer through online shopping - which doesn't really suit us. However, our losses will be small, given Smile only ever generated about £100 a year for us. 

We just wanted to let you know the scheme will be closing next month. 

Friends of OOSO

Over recent months we set up a small group of volunteers we call 'Friends of OOSO'. To have a volunteer group requires us to have a Volunteer Policy, which you are welcome to read here if you wish. Because we're a small charity run on a voluntary basis, we have no ambition to over extend ourselves beyond the core things we want to do, which is principally supporting new patients and those going through recovery. So, at the moment we're not needing to recruit more volunteers but if that changes we'll let you know.  

Our current group of 12 volunteers consists of retired and working professionals from all walks of life, having had between them the full ranges of treatments a new patient is likely to need, so we're well placed to offer support and reassurances in most circumstances. Some of our volunteers are also keen to lead or assist with events, write articles for the website and that sort of thing. 

As a group, we're having our inaugural meeting on 1st February with a number of lead clinicians from the Churchill Hospital to discuss what could be done to enhance dietician services, and more broadly to examine care and experience of patients undergoing treatment, surgery and recovery. Once the meeting is concluded I will feedback to you what those discussions entailed and maybe how things might change for the better for both patients and clinicians. Watch this space.

Until then, all the very best and keep warm!
Matt Carter
Chair of the Trustees
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