James (who had the idea for these badges) felt that he got through his own cancer treatment pretty easily, but thought some of his fellow patients had a far worse time of it than he did.
It struck him that it might be useful to have a badge, modelled on the “Baby on board” badges popular in London, to encourage people to make room on public transport for those undergoing treatment. Even the smallest amount of kindness might shine a tiny ray of sunshine onto what can be a horribly depressing time. Being offered help or support, without having to ask, might make all the difference to someone’s day.
He was told that all he had to do was ask. Brilliant in theory, but people don’t often work like that. They don’t mean to be selfish, but in general, people live in their own little bubble; rightly or wrongly they don’t notice others around them unless they are given a gentle reminder. This, along with the fact that James’ treatment meant that gradually he became unable to speak, meant there was no way he could make himself understood, short of writing notes
Cancer on Board aims to be country-wide, and not just linked to public transport, but at all the problems of trying to live as normal a life as possible whilst ill. We would like to point out that we are not trying to offend anyone. Cancer patients don’t all lose their hair, so they are not always obvious. Everyone’s journey with cancer is different. If a little badge can help get somebody one step closer to the end of their treatment, or even just make them feel a bit better for five minutes, then it’s purpose has worked.
We don’t want anyone to feel pressured into wearing a badge, but knowing you have one in your pocket, just in case, can be a morale booster. Even if you don’t particularly need any help, somebody asking you how you are, or wishing you luck, can give you a real boost, and can turn a bad day into a better one