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Leo's blog

There are always a few spare hours in the day.

Cardiff University Oncology Society

Hello everyone, so one of the things I have been throwing my energy into this year is a new society I have helped to start with some friends called Cardiff University Oncology Society. Though at first you could be forgiven for thinking that it sounds a bit dry, cancer now will affect 1 in 2 people in their lifetime so it’s a really big health issue and an issue for society more generally. Our ambition as a society therefore is to offer a platform to all students (not just medical students) where they can find out, discuss or even get involved in anything related to cancer and its treatment that they are interested in. In addition, it also needs to be emphasized that this is another fantastic example of the opportunities that are open to you at University. If you can find some friends who are also interested in something you are interested in, you can start a society in it with them! There really are no limits to the opportunities on offer!
My role in the society started when I spoke to one my friends who outside the medical school who was asking for help with a new society he was interested in starting. By 8 o clock that night we were sat in another committee member’s room discussing our hopes for the society and what sort of events we were hoping to put on! We therefore only really formed our society half way through September. Initially we were a bit worried about gaining enough interest but after submitting all the paper work we needed to submit to the student’s union we were able to bag a stand at the Heath Fresher’s Fayre. This was a fantastic afternoon and putting up and manning the stalls was so much fun! We were fortunate enough to get loads of people signing up to be members of the society which was really good news. So our fledgling society had about 100 new members after one week. All in all, we felt that was a pretty good start!
After that our next step was planning our first event. Thinking up an idea proved initially a bit difficult as there were loads of different potential ways of doing a launch event. We decided we didn’t want our opening event to be a lecture because it was unlikely to attract enough people as all students already have enough lectures to go to! We decided the best format was to have an informal night where people could pick and choose which workshops they wanted to go to and go from there. We booked out the whole of the main lecture theatre and all the rooms alongside it and had a distinct talk or workshop that went on each room and allowed people the freedom to decided whichever room they wanted to go into. We were fortunate enough to get some very high profile guests to come. Several prominent lecturers and researchers in medicine, cancer specialist nurses from Velindre Hospital and the dean of the dental school and another very special guest called Keith Cass. Keith was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started a men’s health campaign and was awarded an MBE. In addition, we had an area in with lots and lots of stalls with various charities present manned by both both students and professionals and it was good to see the interest in those stalls as well!
The night was a fabulous success, we had loads of people turning up and it was excellent event. We ourselves received plenty of credit and it was really good that everyone enjoyed the night so much. I’m hoping it’s going to be the first of many! Thanks to all who came.

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