The Cancer Patients Support Association (POLA) is a non-governmental umbrella organisation uniting a number of oncology-related organisations, including cancer patients’ societies and organisations offering assistance to people with cancer.
POLA is a transparent and independent organisation representing interests of cancer patients. The Association’s mission is to make all possible efforts to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families.
Our aim is to minimize the number of people affected by cancer to as low as possible. We also aim to ensure that both patients and their families have access to effective treatment and the best possible informative, social, psychological and mental support.
- We educate the public on how to reduce risks of developing cancer
- We teach patients how to actively engage in their treatment process
- We organise free seminars, training, art therapies and conferences dedicated to patients
- We inform patients by distributing free publications on relevant topics
- We strengthen patients’ organisations
- We mobilise the community of cancer patients and issue the POLA card to its members
- We offer more possibilities for individuals affected by cancer
- Saving money on goods and services by benifiting from discounts from more than 40 partners across Lithuania
- Benifiting from free invitations to theatre performances and concerts
- Receiving information about events for cancer patients
Our annual reports are available in Lithuanian via here.
Currently POLA brings together 26 organisations that play an active role in the area of cancer support.
In the face of diagnosed cancer, a person may turn inwards rather than share his/her experiences and fears with other people. Yet, this is not helpful in any way, on the contrary, isolation aggravates the psychological condition of the patient, leading to depression and frustration. At this moment, psychological assistance and support of other people are crucial. Specialists believe that family relationships and interaction with other persons with a similar fate in psychological self-help groups are also highly important to cancer patients.
The Cancer Patients Support Association (POLA) invites people with a similar fate to organise themselves in a single community and overcome cancer with joint effort.
The Association brings together more than ten organisations actively engaged in the area of cancer patient support and encourages new cancer patient communities to join its members.
If you are willing to take part in the activities of such self-help groups, share your thoughts and experiences or success stories with your peers, DON’T STAY ALONE – join the communities of cancer patients and their families.
For further advice on creating a new self-help group or community in your location, please contact Cancer Information and Support Centre in Alytus, by phone 8 641 11 641 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Any NGO or a community-based organisation providing support for people with cancer and their families may become a POLA member.
WHY IT IS WORTH IT
As a POLA member, you will have the possibility:
- To take part in decision making on oncology-related matters and issues
- To exert influence on the legislative process in the area of oncology. For example, POLA members take an active part in consultations held at Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Health
- To cooperate and consult with other members of the Association in handling matters that are of the association’s concern;
- To establish contacts with other Lithuanian and foreign organisations active in the area of oncology, including the British NGO Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Choices in Northern Ireland and charity fund The Tiltas Trust;
- To participate in the events and projects organised by POLA. For example, in June 2012 POLA members took part in the conference of the European Cancer Patient Coalition in Rieti, Italy. Funding for POLA projects was provided by the British Embassy;
- To use the POLA card, which entitles its holder to discounts offered by POLA partners and access to loyalty programmes run by POLA. For further details about the POLA card see here;
- To get more visibility and high profile at both local and international level;
Not only to directly contribute to the common purpose, which is the improvement of the quality of life for cancer patients and their families, but also to successfully achieve self-realisation;
- To communicate not only on the professional level, but also get to know each other and enjoy leisure time during various events (conferences, seminars, trainings, etc.). The survey of POLA members conducted in 2013 showed that 91% of members were satisfied with interaction with other POLA members.
WHAT OUR MEMBERS SPEAK
“A survey of POLA members conducted in 2013 revealed that 82% of members were satisfied with their membership of POLA. The same number of POLA members intends to renew their membership of our association in the next year. POLA follows a friendly strategy that builds bridges between people affected by cancer, doctors and the public,” POLA Board Member
“POLA may specifically be a powerful tool for promoting trust in patient organisations; as part of it, we can create the system of values, prosperity and an environment friendly to people affected by cancer,” POLA member
While aiming its goals, the Cancer Patients Support Association (POLA) is engaged in multiple projects.
Being a relatively young organization, POLA has initiated and successfully implemented the project aimed at translating and producing information materials. The project was made possible with the support of the British Embassy and Vilnius Old Town Rotary Club. For the translation of the “A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Cancer’”and “Understanding Cancer Of Unknown Primary” publications from English to Lithuanian, a cooperation agreement was signed with a British organisation Macmillan Cancer Support.
In June 2014, in the Parliament of Northern Ireland POLA and Cancer Choices, an NGO from Northern Ireland, presented results of their successful cooperation: 8 bilingual leaflets on cancer prevention, which were prepared on the basis of Cancer Research UK’s publications. Later on, the information materials were distributed among POLA members and cancer information centres in Lithuania, where they are freely available to all cancer patients and their families.
Currently, the Association also runs the POLA card project. The POLA card project’s goal is to develop a single card for loyalty and discount programmes by POLA and its partners. The latter includes service and
goods suppliers which signed cooperation agreements on services for POLA cardholders. As cardholders, cancer patients will enjoy our partners’ discounts and privileges and participate in their loyalty programmes.
The financial assistance and support for the project was provided by the Tiltas Trust, as well as such companies as Novartis, Roche, Janssen and AbbVie.
Another project, aimed at training of members of cancer patient societies, will be launched in the near future. The aim of the project is to develop competences of cancer patient organizations required to defend cancer patients’ rights through the development of an NGO network.
In terms of future initiatives, POLA will put efforts to develop existing cancer information and support centres and contribute to the establishment of new support centres across Lithuania. The centres are to provide comprehensive information and support to patients, their families and a variety of regional patient support organisations.
Everyone willing to take part in POLA projects is welcome to contact POLA Director Virginijus Šaulys.