Let me tell you a bit about who I am and how I started in Macmillan!
I was born in Mexico City, and came to the UK in 2013 to do an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health at Bristol University. During my first months in the UK I heard from Macmillan and became deeply interested in their work and the different areas they covered for cancer care. I started looking for opportunities within the organization and I became the Physical Activity Intern from February to May this year!
During this time I got involved in several projects including a systematic review of the benefits of walking in people affected by cancer, and developing a volunteer role to support engagement and maintenance of physical activity behaviour. My three months here were fantastic, but sadly the internship had to end, it was hard to leave. My time in Macmillan made it clear to me that this was the place I wanted to be and a brilliant place to develop my career in the health and wellbeing field.
Lucky me, I became the Physical Activity Project Officer in September!
My main area of expertise is design, implementation and evaluation of physical activity interventions and behaviour change with the aim of engaging people to adopt and maintain physical activity behaviour. It seems like a perfect match to what Macmillan is trying to achieve: “to ensure everyone living with and beyond cancer is aware of the benefits of physical activity and is enabled to choose to become and stay active at a level that’s right for them”. As a Project Officer in the Physical Activity team I will support different projects within the team with a special focus in Walking for Health, an incredible opportunity for me to learn from the best.
Physical activity and healthy lifestyles have always been part of my daily living. I played basketball in Mexico for over 15 years, and slowly shifted to becoming a freestyle runner with an occasional marathon every couple of years. I am definitely a foodie and always enjoy a good meal with nice company, and if after there is chance for a good coffee, you would definitely make my day!
The Active Everyday service is feeling very proud of the success of the Walking Football partnership with Sheffield United Football Club titled ‘Fans Fit for Cancer’ (Fans FC). Just one of the popular offers on their menu of opportunities for males that wouldn’t normally attend a support group from a range of ages, ethnicity, ability and stages of their cancer journey.
Ian Margersion – Macmillan Involvement Co-ordinator said “it was really nice to see the relationships the service users had built, their enjoyment of the sessions, and the support available to them from the Active Everyday team. Well done to everyone at Active Everyday this has been a massive opportunity to the participants who have attended.”
The Active Everyday team held a focus group to gather the thoughts, experiences, and opinions of participants to help develop and design the Fans FC curriculum. Sessions are delivered by a Level 4 cancer exercise specialist and a Sheffield United Community Coach at no cost to the participant.
The programme has two elements, class room and physical activity. The class room activities are aimed at developing a person’s knowledge of how to manage their health and physical activity. The physical activities sessions are aimed at slowly increasing a person’s capacity whilst also offering them the opportunity to experience different forms of exercise; including, aerobic, flexibility, strength and sport (walking football).
Find out more about Active Everyday here
My name is Naomi Wylde and I have recently joined the Macmillan Physical Activity Team as a placement student from the University of Bath. I currently study Sport and Exercise Science, and a year working within industry is part of my degree. With a large interest within physical activity, health, and behaviour change, a placement at Macmillan was gratefully accepted!
Since starting I have already attended two cluster meetings; London & South East, and South West and a knowledge exchange event. Providing me with the perfect opportunity to understand what role the physical activity team hold across the UK and how we work with our services to provide a successful 12 month behaviour change service. In addition, I was present at the ‘Breast Cancer Haven’s Healthcare Professionals’ Day’, ‘Living Well Active Dorset Discovery Day’ and the ‘Street Games Festival’. At these events I was able to network and learn about other things that can help people living with and beyond cancer, for example, mindfulness and relaxation, medical herbs, and healthier eating, which all accompanied a large influence on moving more. There was also very brief advice (VBA) training for healthcare professionals, which I attended, along with hearing from guest speakers such as Professor Robert Thomas and Dr Andrew Medley.
These events have allowed me the opportunity to meet lots of new people and understand what their roles are within the cancer care pathway, and behaviour change intervention. As well as introduce myself, my role, and how I can help.
I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the Physical Activity Team, and many other people that do such valuable work within Macmillan. I have been welcomed with open arms, and I am excited to work alongside the team whilst learning and growing my expertise within physical activity, long term conditions, and cancer.
Fun Fact: I have played tennis for 13 years and love being on the court, especially in the hot weather!