The good news is that there are lots of things, from day-to-day support to campaigning for more recognition of the condition, which will mean a lot and help to make a difference. Are you ready to become a Lymphoedema Ally? Read on for ways you can help.
Supporting your friend or family member day-to-day
Everyone’s lymphoedema journey is different and the support that each person with lymphoedema will appreciate will of course be different. However, here are some practical ways you can help.
1. Learn more about lymphoedema and how it affects people
By understanding lymphoedema, what it is and how it can impact on people, you will be in a good position to be able to offer help and support. There are lots of useful resources on the LymphConnect website designed to help you understand the condition and its treatments.
2. Offer support with daily activities
Because lymphoedema can restrict movement, it can make some daily activities more challenging. Each person is different, but your friend might appreciate the offer of help with activities which involve heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or sometimes driving.
3. Help to make adjustments to the environment at home or work
Small adjustments can make a big difference to the comfort and safety of someone with lymphoedema. At work, that might mean finding a way to elevate a limb or taking time to get up and walk around regularly. At home, access to perching stools to rest on and trolleys to avoid carrying heavy trays might make a big difference. Talk to your friend and understand which areas cause difficulties, and then help to find solutions.
4. Be a listening ear
Living with lymphoedema can bring challenging days. Just knowing that someone is there, understands and is ready to listen can be a huge help. Of course, not everyone wants to talk, and it is important to respect that. But being there when someone does need a sympathetic ear can be really helpful.
Getting involved with the bigger picture
As you get to know more about lymphoedema, you might decide that you would like to get involved at a higher level in working to make life better for people with lymphoedema. There are lots of ways you can get involved! From helping to spread awareness of a condition which is still remarkably unknown, to joining in with campaigning for greater visibility and support, lending your voice and time can really make an impact. Consider the following:
1. Raise awareness
Sharing information and posts about lymphoedema can help spread awareness of lymphoedema among your network. The first week in March is usually Lymphoedema Awareness Week, which is a great time to get involved. Look out for posts and information on social media from the following organisations:
- Lymphoedema Support Network
- British Lymphology Society
- Legs Matter
2. Campaign for greater awareness
Sign the LE&RN petition to call upon the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make “Lymphoedema: Awareness & Cures” the theme for their next World Health Day campaign. Let’s get the lymphoedema message out across the world!
3. Give a monetary donation or time
Lymphoedema charities and organisations in the UK do great work on behalf of people with lymphoedema. If you can support them with a monetary donation, time or other practical support, please do get in touch with groups such as the Lymphoedema Support Network or Legs Matter.
Whether you can give a helping hand to a friend at work or want to join a campaign to promote greater awareness, your support as a Lymphoedema Ally will mean the world to the lymphoedema community and could help to change lives. We would love to hear from you about how you are able to make a difference.
Remember LymphConnect has lots of information about compression garments. Sharing information with others in the community forum is another way to learn more!
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Claudia Lymphoedema patient