Skip to main content
Civil Service

World Cancer Day: Big wins from small acts of kindness 

World Cancer Day 2022

Ahead of World Cancer Day on 4 February, Seonaid Webb tells how small kindnesses can help make such a difference to colleagues facing cancer.

Over the past two years, the impact of COVID-19 on people affected by cancer has been stark. Whether that’s isolation and shielding leading to loneliness, delays on treatment waiting times leading to anxiety around increased health risks and issues, or the pain of not being able to hold the hand of family members during invasive hospital treatments, we all appreciate, more than ever in these challenging times, a simple act of kindness. 

Amazing civil servants

In the Civil Service Working Through Cancer Network we’ve seen some amazing efforts by civil servant colleagues, who have stepped up brilliantly to help others. It’s extraordinary to think almost 1,000 new people have signed up to be blood donors, whilst almost 500 civil servants joined the stem cell register over the summer. Others willingly volunteered to become a buddy to a person who needs to speak to someone who “gets it” (including a WhatsApp shielding buddy group during lockdown). We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been part of supporting others through acts of kindness. 

Author: Seonaid Webb

World Cancer Day plans

For World Cancer Day, the Working Through Cancer Network is focusing on the themes of acts of kindness and looking to the future. Our hundreds of members are promoting local events across many departments and agencies - look out for opportunities on your intranets, and do try to attend. In addition, we are offering some fantastic Civil Service-wide events.

Cancer Research UK 

Dr Rachel Shaw is going to talk to us about the successes in, and the future of, cancer research – supporting the organisation’s milestone anniversary year. Today, thanks to research, two in four people in the UK survive their cancer for 10 years or more. The prospects of major advances in tackling cancer have never been greater, and international collaboration and funding are key in realising these opportunities. 

In Conversation With...Ministers and Senior Leaders 

We’re delighted to announce our panel members are: Minister Jo Churchill, Dame Clare Moriarty (CEO of Citizens Advice Bureau) and Dr Gemma Harper (CEO of JNCC).

Getting men talking about cancer 

A panel event with a group of civil servants who want to share how the help from others was vital during their journeys through cancer. 

Maggie’s Charity 

The charity will be leading an event with us, focused on support for families affected by cancer. The charity provides free cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online.


A charity for young people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, Shine is hosting an event looking at their offer for the “plus ones” of young people affected by cancer. 

Acts of Kindness events 

Supported by Look Good Feel Better and From Me to You, these will showcase how small things can make a big difference to someone affected by cancer.  

Macmillan Buddies

Macmillan will host a session on the huge benefits to primary and secondary cancer patients of access to a longer-term buddy. 

These events are open to all civil servants – please visit the Working Through Cancer Network eventbrite to book a place.

Here for you

Finally, please remember, if you need support, this network and the many departmental Working Through Cancer Networks are here for you. For anyone affected by cancer (directly, as a carer or as a line manager), we can offer you a place of kindness. If you are lonely, you will be among friends, and if you are unhappy, you will find an opportunity to smile again. Take care and be kind, always. 

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Gill posted on

    Thank you for a great blog Seonaid and for all the hard work that you do. You are a great inspiration to us all in the network.

    • Replies to Gill>

      Comment by Seonaid posted on

      Thanks Gill. I'm so proud of you all and the dedication you show to others.