As you’re preparing, take the time to craft your personal story. Write it out if you can, or get help to put it down on paper. Whether you are a cancer survivor, caregiver, family member or friend, you have a unique story to tell about the issues and challenges faced from your perspective. Make sure you capture those thoughts and feelings. It will be fundamental to your advocacy activities.
Whether you’re meeting with a decision-maker in person or writing them a letter, you should always take a moment to tell them your personal story or experience. It is what connects you to the listener and humanises the issues you’re bringing forward.
What is a personal story?
- A summary of what has happened to you as it relates to the issue at hand.
- It is your perspective on the issue based on your experience, feelings and attitudes.
- It is emotional – compelling, but believable.
- It must demonstrate how the decision-maker’s action/inaction/policy has directly impacted your life.
- It fuels the logic of your key messages and ‘ask’.
- Take the time to write out your personal story – it’s essential because we all forget things and it’s a work in progress that you’ll always be adding to.
- Conclude with why things need to change and bridge to the ‘ask’ that you have
There are 2 options: You either tell a summary of your entire story as it pertains to the issue, or you tell a portion of your story that focuses on one or two aspects of the issue.
- Name, age, where you live
- Occupation (former occupation) and family
- Timing and circumstances surrounding your issue
- Challenges faced as a result of the impact of the issue on your life
- What you believe decision-makers need to do to help you and others
- At every point, how you felt