Raising awareness - Mark's story

How one of our volunteers shared his story with his hospital radio and local newspaper to help raise awareness of lymphoma and the support we provide. 

Mark with his wife Paula_Bridges Walk

Lymphoma Action volunteer Mark Zymela recognises the value of different support options for anyone affected by a lymphoma diagnosis. As well as helping to organise our Guildford Support Group; being a member of our reader panel, advisory board and volunteer forum – plus a patient advocate for Lymphoma Coalition Europe – Mark recently told his own personal lymphoma story and shared it online, in his local paper and on hospital radio. 

Mark explains: "For me, it’s really therapeutic to talk openly about my situation and to share my experiences of lymphoma. It helps me – and I hope it might help others too. I’ve benefited from Lymphoma Action’s services myself and so I’m keen to signpost those services to others who might find them helpful. I know there’s something there to suit everyone.”

Mark was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma nine years ago and has never needed treatment. Instead he’s on active monitoring, which means he sees his consultant at Frimley Park Hospital every six months for a blood test and brief check-up and looks out for any of the symptoms associated with lymphoma. As a ‘regular’ at Frimley Park, Mark seized the opportunity to raise awareness about lymphoma to patients, visitors and staff via the hospital’s own radio station Radio Frimley Park.

“It was a fascinating insight into how a radio station operates” said Mark. “The presenter chatted to me off air before our interview, which was pre-recorded anyway so I felt reassured that I could do any part again if necessary. Having a chat together not only put me at my ease but also gave the DJ the prompts to guide me through the interview. He continued to prompt me once we started recording and I felt perfectly relaxed. It just felt like I was having a chat with someone rather than broadcasting to loads of listeners!”

Mark's local newspaper, the Aldershot News & Mail, also printed a story about Mark’s experiences of lymphoma and his involvement in our Bridges of London walk and annual conference in May 2019. 

“The process has been relatively pain-free!" says Mark "A member of the charity’s communications team chatted to me over the phone and drafted a press release that I was able to change and then approve. I submitted a couple of photos and they’ve been liaising with the reporters at the paper.”

Thank you Mark for helping to raise awareness of lymphoma and the work we do!

If you feel inspired to get involved in our work, we’d love to welcome you as one of our volunteers. Maybe you could share your lymphoma experiences, like Mark has, or perhaps you’d like to donate your time and expertise in other ways to help us reach more people affected by lymphoma? Either way, we’d love to hear from you so register today

Photo shows Mark and his wife Paula at our 2019 Bridges of London walk.

27 June 2019