About the service
Our Buddy Service offers support and an opportunity to speak to someone with lived experience of lymphoma.
- Our buddies may have the same type of lymphoma as you, and often will have had treatment similar to the treatment you have had, or may be about to have. They may also have similar lifestyle experiences as you. Some of our Buddies are family members or carers, and so we offer this service to you if you are a family member or carer of someone with lymphoma. Buddies offer empathy and understanding, sharing experiences and a listening ear.
- The service is not a counselling, therapy, befriending or ‘friendship’ scheme.
- The service offers short-term contact with a Buddy (usually six times or over a period of three months). Any ongoing or long-term contact, or any friendships that develop, are not part of the Buddy Service and would not be recognised by us as part of the service.
- Our Buddies are not counsellors, medically trained or able to give advice. They can talk to you about their experiences of lymphoma and how it affects them, and about your experiences. Please remember that your buddy’s experiences may not exactly match your own and they are simply sharing their experiences with you.
If we find a Buddy for you
- If we find a Buddy for you, please contact them within two weeks, even if it’s just to arrange a time to talk. Some people find it helpful to contact their Buddy by email or text first to arrange a good time to talk.
- If you change your mind about having a Buddy that’s fine. We just ask that you let us know within two weeks so that we can let them know that they won’t hear from you.
- The service offers short-term contact. Although it can vary from person to person, depending on the situation, we usually suggest that you can contact your Buddy up to six times or over a period of three months. However, we understand that everyone’s situation is different and sometimes longer-term contact might be helpful. You can talk directly to your Buddy about whether this would be possible, and they might talk to us about whether they are able to offer this. If your Buddy is not able to offer this, you can talk to us about having another link.
- Our Buddies cannot give you advice. Any information that your Buddy shares about their own experience should not be taken as advice. We recommend that you discuss any concerns about your condition and its treatment with your own medical team.
- We only share limited information about you with your Buddy. We give them your first name, and an overview of your diagnosis and what you would like to speak to them about. This is to check that the Buddy feels they have the right experiences to share with you. Similarly, we will tell you your Buddy’s first name and an overview of their experience so that you can see why we are suggesting them as a Buddy for you. We will also give you their contact details (phone number and/or email address, depending on how you want to contact them).
- To maintain your confidentiality and that of your Buddy, you must not keep or share any information about your Buddy with anyone outside of the Buddy Service.
There may be situations where you want to share information about your Buddy, such as at a lymphoma support group or event. You must not share any personal details about your Buddy.
Any information that you have, for example, your Buddy’s contact details, must be destroyed after the link has ended (for example, by shredding or deleting the information).
- Our Buddy Service does not offer face-to-face support. However, it may be possible that you meet your Buddy by accident, for example, at a Lymphoma Action event or Support Group. If this happens, please do not discuss your link with your Buddy in this environment. This is to ensure the confidentiality of the service.
- As part of your link, your Buddy may signpost you on to other, reputable organisations, appropriate to your situation. It is important to recognise that we cannot recommend these organisations, and it is your choice whether you follow up these signposts or not.
Looking after yourself
- We understand that there may be times when you feel particularly distressed or emotional, and this is completely understandable. We ask that you don’t contact your Buddy when you are feeling this way, as they are not trained counsellors, and are a Buddy in a voluntary capacity. Instead, please call our helpline on (freephone) 0808 808 5555 (10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday). The helpline can offer you time and space to talk in a confidential environment, and can signpost you on to other sources of support if that is helpful. Outside of these times, you may like to call the Samaritans on 116123.
In some cases, your Buddy might suggest that you contact our helpline, perhaps instead of using the Buddy Service. For example, this might be if:
- you are distressed or they are worried about your emotional wellbeing;
- you are concerned about medical issue (or they may suggest that you contact your doctor or specialist);
- you appear to be dependent on your Buddy or the service, or the service is not able to offer you what you need;
- your Buddy does not feel that the link is appropriate, or they become unable to make a link with you; or
- you make contact with them again after the link has ended.
Sometimes, talking with your Buddy about their experience could bring up emotions and feelings for you. If you
would like to talk this through, please contact the helpline for additional support.
After your link has ended
- Our Buddy Service offers short-term contact. Usually this is around six times or over a period of three months. After this time, the link is ended.
- If you want to contact your Buddy again after the link has ended, or your experience has changed since you spoke to your Buddy, please contact the Buddy Service again (do not contact your Buddy directly).This is because your Buddy may no longer be available, they may be linked to another individual, or they may no longer be the most suitable link for your experience. We can try and find you a new, suitable, Buddy.
- Around six weeks after we have made a Buddy link for you, one of our volunteers will contact you to ask for feedback on the service. Your feedback is important as it helps us to understand how the service is working and how we can best support you. You can give feedback over the phone, or they can send you a link to a survey online. (Please note: these volunteers are independent of the Buddy Service and will only contact you about your experience of the service itself. If you would like to talk about your condition or experiences, please call the helpline.)
Please remember that you are welcome to use any of Lymphoma Action’s services, such as our Helpline Services or Online support meetings, whether you are currently linked with a Buddy, if you change your mind about having a Buddy, or your link has ended.