March Educator of the Month: Suzi Oag

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“I am not a doctor, a teacher or even a very confident public speaker, but I now know that to play a role in the fight against cancer you don’t have to be. As an Educator you don’t need to give a formal lecture, you just need to get a conversation started and be approachable.”

 

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Meet Suzi – Our Educator of the Month! 

 

Suzi is Northern Ireland’s first Know Your Lemons Certified Global Educator! As someone who has experienced many cancer cases within the family in the past, she is committed to make a change for the better. She is already doing incredible work with women in her area and is now ready to teach the Know Your Lemons breast health class in the community. Here is Suzi’s story:

 

“My name is Suzi and I am a Community Health Champion in Larne, Northern Ireland. I am a Know Your Lemons Global Educator and the founder of EqualityPeriod NI, a volunteer initiative tackling period poverty that also aims to improve Menstrual Health & Wellbeing in our community.

 

Cancer has had a huge impact on my family over the last 15 years. It’s been hard and is something I find very difficult to talk about. To be honest, just hearing the word ‘cancer’ made me feel completely powerless and defeated for a long time because my family and friends’ stories kept repeating: They would notice symptoms, become diagnosed as metastatic, given palliative care and a few months later, we were planning funeral arrangements.

 
“I’ve run 10ks and a lot of other things that people do because they want to help change how the [cancer] story ends, but until I became a Know Your Lemons Certified Global Educator, I never really felt that I was making
much of a difference.”

When I first saw the image of lemons depicting the 12 symptoms of breast cancer it immediately stopped me in my tracks. It’s an image that isn’t just ‘raising awareness’ – we all know breast cancer exists at this point – but those incredible pieces of fruit actively teach lifesaving information and do so in a wonderfully simple and accessible way. It’s amazing!

 

Talking about anything that relates to breasts or genitals hits a barrier because of societal stigmas and the embarrassment we humans put upon our bodies.

 

Health information is often presented in a very clinical and cold fashion. It’s not engaging, sometimes the language used can be completely alienating and most of all it’s not memorable. The Know Your Lemons campaign is completely different and I love everything about it. As breast health goes hand in hand with menstrual wellbeing, linking our work at EqualityPeriod NI with the KYL campaign was a perfect fit. We run on the same motivation, to empower bodily confidence and foster self-advocacy skills when it comes to healthcare. We share the same belief that knowing your own body and being in-tune with what’s normal for your body is key.

 

I am not a doctor, a teacher or even a very confident public speaker, but I now know that to play a role in the fight against cancer you don’t have to be. As an Educator you don’t need to give a formal lecture, you just need to get a conversation started and be approachable. Through interactions on our social media, one to one chats, virtual group workshops and the inclusion of physical factsheets in all our care packages our team at EqualityPeriod have ‘educated’ over 300 people using the KYL Foundation resources in the past 4 months.

 

2020’s theme for World Cancer Day was ‘I Am and I Will’ and I think that sums up the Know Your Lemons Global Educator programme perfectly. Through positive actions as a Lemonista and as the founder/co-founder of EqualityPeriod NI – ‘I Am and I Will’ help reach the UICC target of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer and noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030; and you can too, by signing up to the KYL Global Educator Programme today.”