In 2009 Sue Brand at Germ Cell CNS was approached by Rob Buy, who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, to set up a fund to allow men in the Bristol region to donate and/or raise money for their local service in the South West. Initial meetings with patients revealed that they were impressed by Bristol Service and wanted to ensure that all men in the South West had access to and were given the right support.
Sue and Rob, together with Dr Jeremy Braybrooke and an enthusiastic group of patients, created, It's in the Bag. Designer Andrew Styles, took the slogan, which was voted for by patients, together with Sue’s ideas for the logo and created Orange Pants! The branding, gave this young group of men an identity and an avenue to give something back to a devastating illness. The concept of supporting the clinical service, improving the patient experience, raising awareness, celebrating survival became themes.
Two years on, in 2011 the It's in the Bag charity fund (which is a part of the Above & Beyond fundraising vehicle for Bristol’s nine central hospitals) and patient forum formally stated its aims: raising awareness; raising money; supporting and celebrating survival. It's in the Bag also launched the Keep Calm and Check Your Balls campaign – a campaign designed by patients, aimed at raising public awareness of the disease.
With the help of volunteers from Jelf Group the organisation is on its way to achieving its goals throughout the South West, and build a model that can be rolled out across the UK. It's in the Bag has already rolled out its Living Well with the Impact of Testicular Cancer course to adjoining networks.
A key need was identified for patients with testicular cancer in the South West – that of having appropriate local information and support at all stages of the diagnostic and treatment pathway, including the long-term issues for men in the area surviving the disease. The needs of patients (and of their families) is often many and varied.
While national charities for male cancers exist, these cover a broad spectrum of cancers and are based in the South East of the country. They are also focused on patient information and research, and have no avenue to patient support, especially local support.
It’s in the Bag: Supporting men with Testicular Cancer was formed in 2009 and identified its clear aims in 2011, with all the elements being patient led:
Supporting and Celebrating Survival
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