The 2016 Let's Meet event was held on the 10th of September in central London at Holborn Bars. The theme of the day was 'Looking after your emotional and physical wellbeing after cervical cancer'. This focus was brought into all aspects of the day, from the keynote speech to the diverse range of workshops on offer.
Let's Meet is a day that is designed specifically for women and their loved ones to connect with each other, share experiences, get answers to their questions from people who are experts in their field, and grow together as a community.
'Thank you, you've organised an event that has made me feel 'normal' around women who know how I feel. A genuine understanding rather than sympathy from others.'
We began the day with a wonderful keynote presentation by Professor Amanda Ramirez who is the Consultant Psychiatrist and Emeritus Professor of Liaison Psychiatry & Psycho-Oncology at King's College London. She discussed the emotional impact that cervical cancer can have on your life and how it can affect you in ways you never expected. She also highlighted what kinds of support women need from their health care professionals in regard to their emotional health, and ways to manage this.
The attendees were then able to select and attend three of the below workshops:
- Pelvic radiation disease post cervical cancer treatment – Alexandra Taylor, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London
- Look Good, Feel Better taster session – Dulcie Rowe, Masterclass Manager, Look Good, Feel Better, Surrey
'They were all really interesting and informative. Look Good, Feel Better and PRD (pelvic radiation disease) were great'
- Laughter Yoga – Federica Miserocchi, Laughter Yoga Facilitator, London
- Sex and intimacy changes after cervical cancer – Isabel White, Clinical Research Fellow in Psychosexual Practice, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London and Surrey
'Loved the sex and intimacy session – could have listened to the Isabel for hours. Some really useful info and advice on a sensitive subject, delivered brilliantly'
- How to support your partner and yourself – Tracie Miles, Gynae-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Royal Bath Hospital
- Gong bath relaxation – Patricia Carlota, Gong Practitioner, SonicSoul, London
'LOVED the Gong bath – could have done that all day'
- Early menopause and HRT – Debra Holloway, Nurse Consultant, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London
- Early diagnosis and fertility – Stuart Lavery, Consultant Gynaecologist, Director of IVF at Hammersmith Hospital, London
'Fertility workshop was great, Stuart Lavery was really interesting'
- Ask the Gynae-Oncologist – Adeola Olaitan, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, University College London Hospital, London
During the final session of the day we had two fantastic talks from our wonderful 'My Jo's Trust' speakers. These women were generous enough to share some their experiences with cervical cancer and how they found Jo's. They also talked about the different ways they have been involved with us and given back to the charity.
- Catherine Cooke-Beattie – Fundraiser for Steps for Jo's
'Along the way I have been really lucky, because I have met some really wonderful people, who I wouldn't have met if I hadn't been in these circumstances.'
- Lisa Brade – Media Volunteer, outreach speaker, Photoshoot participant and 'Poster girl'.
'I jumped at the chance to give back. I wanted to give someone hope and let them know that there can be life after cancer'
Their enthusiasm, humour and honesty were a moving end to a great day.
Here's what some of our attendees said about Let's Meet 2016:
- 'Fantastic Day! So grateful to Jo's for spoiling us so much'
- 'Thank you and see you next year!'
- 'I always learn something new each time I attend'
- 'Finding out specific medical information from professionals who know what they're talking about was so useful'
- 'All very beneficial. Would've loved to have attended the other workshops as well, so will definitely attend next years sessions too'
Feedback from the day has shown that they event helped 83% of the attendees feel less anxious, 88% feel less isolated and 91 felt more hopeful. 86% of the attendees said that the day helped them gain a better understanding of treatment options and their side-effects, 92% felt it gave them a chance to share experiences with other people who are affected and 89% felt the event would help them look after themselves better.