Category Archives: Breast cancer

Turning lemons into lemonade – how I experienced the power of storytelling first hand

lemons-1432439_960_720Humans have been storytelling for thousands of years, however it was often confined to the minds of frustrated, penniless novelists and mothers trying to lull their children to sleep.

Not anymore. Big brands are using it to great effect. Take the current DFS advert. They’re not just telling you about the great sofas they have available, they’re showing you real people in the workshops with the skills and enthusiasm to ensure your sofa will arrive before Christmas.

And newspapers and journalists aren’t just delivering the facts, they’re telling us stories of unaccompanied child refugees making their way across Europe and families torn apart by the war in Syria.

I’m not telling you anything new, but it does take some skill to tell a really good story and to identify what one is in the first place. How confident are we as communicators that we can find the story at the heart of the corporate world?

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Filed under Breast cancer, CIPR inside, CoppaFeel!, Helen Deverell, Internal communication, Masterclass, Storytelling, writing

Lost in translation – the language of cancer

IMG_20160209_183156As an internal communicator, I’m used to being invited to take deep dives off burning platforms or to touch base about shifting paradigms. There is an endless stream of jargon in the world, that shows no sign of abating, despite protestations of the virtues of simple, plain English, and countless memes mocking the language of business.

Language is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, yet we can be so reckless with how we use it, oblivious to the damage it can cause. And as a lover and protector of the written word, I have been known to have near apoplectic outbursts when it is abused, whether it be jargon, a rogue or missing apostrophe, or finding ‘compliment’ instead of ‘complement’.

But until last year I was blissfully unaware of a different type of language no-no. The language of cancer. As a society we love a bit of war analogy when it comes to cancer. We fight it, we battle it, we beat it and sometimes we lose. Continue reading

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Filed under Breast cancer, Helen Deverell, Internal communication, Language

Why do I blog?

Keep calm and blogEvery couple of months I have the same conversation with my colleague Paul Thomas. I really should blog more. It’s been ages since I blogged. I’m going to write a blog tonight on the train. I fell asleep on the train, I literally could not keep my eyes open. I’ll definitely blog at the weekend…

So here I am at the weekend (not the weekend that followed this conversation, but a weekend nonetheless), writing a blog, about writing a blog. It might sound like I’m scraping the barrel for ideas, but bear with me. Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, Breast cancer, Helen Deverell, Internal communication, Introvert

Fancy winning a day’s consultancy with All Things IC?

Boobette_crowdfunder_facebook image_blueLet’s face it, who wouldn’t? Rachel Miller has very kindly donated a day’s consultancy and the opportunity to advertise your job vacancy on All Things IC for a whole month (worth £200!) to my crowdfund for the charity CoppaFeel! Continue reading

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Filed under Breast cancer, Helen Deverell, Internal communication, Uncategorized

The return to work

The not exactly subtle new 'do'

The not exactly subtle new look.

At the beginning of June I returned to work following a six-month absence to receive treatment for breast cancer. After the elation of finishing a long slog of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I was brought back down to earth with the realisation that I would now be returning to work. A place I hadn’t been for six months, where team members had changed, where there was a new CEO, a new culture and I was rocking a not exactly subtle new look (see photo).

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Filed under Breast cancer, Internal communication

Creating a community – my interview with YBCN founder Victoria Yates

YBCN logoSince my recent breast cancer diagnosis, I’ve been a member of the Younger Breast Cancer Network (YBCN), a secret Facebook group for women diagnosed under the age of 45. For a young woman, breast cancer can have a vastly different effect on your life, to that of an older woman; your life is just taking off when the brakes are suddenly applied. Relationships and marriages are tested while still in their infancy, careers are put on hold and the prospect of children is no longer a certainty.

And that’s why the YBCN is so special. It offers peer support, humour and friendship from women going through the same thing at a similar age. It was set up by Victoria Yates (Vickie), a solicitor in Manchester who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 in 2010. As the youngest woman in the breast clinic waiting room, the online forums and events, she had never felt more alone. Continue reading

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Filed under Breast cancer, Helen Deverell, Internal communication, Social media, YBCN

Controlling the message: how I told the world I had cancer

In this age of social media, there is a running joke that it didn’t really happen unless you posted it on Facebook. All major events of my life have been documented on there: my wedding, my 30th birthday and now my cancer diagnosis.

In November, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I have no family history and of course, I was only 29. For the first few weeks I only told my immediate friends and family, partly because I was still finding out details of my diagnosis and what it meant for my future, and also because I was embarrassed. Who gets cancer in their 20s? Continue reading


Filed under Breast cancer, Helen Deverell, Internal communication