We would like to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers that this video contains the voice and images of a person who has since passed away.
Elder, health worker and cancer patient.
Norm was very passionate about raising awareness about cancer. He had a powerful, positive message that he hoped to get back to his people: early detection and treatment means having hope and faith so you can see your children and grandchildren grow up.
Norm knew firsthand that the cancer journey is not just physical. It is highly emotional and spiritual; therefore, we need more cultural safety in cancer care. Cultural safety means having Aboriginal faces caring for you. His legacy will ensure Aboriginal people have a place where it is safe to be sick and where it is okay to have cancer.
Norman Allan was a Health Worker at Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour and the Chair of Cancer Council NSW’s APOCC Research Project Aboriginal Advisory Group.
There’s a lot of our people are scared and they’re ashamed to go that next step. But if you don’t have this test, whether it’s three months, six months, nine months, 12 months, especially for Aboriginal men, we need to have screening at the hospital campus.
Sadly Norm Allan passed away from cancer in 2015. Norm’s family have asked that, following Norm’s wishes, his name and image continue to be used to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people.
I’m originally from Tamworth. I’m a proud Kamilaroi Gomeroi man.
I have lived in Tamworth for over 50 odd years.
I’ve grown up to the connection of the land, the culture, the identity. I’m proud of where I come and who I am.
I want to acknowledge country. I want to pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land. Pay my respects to the elders past and present, and also pay my respects to the future leaders of this proud, beautiful land. The children of today.
Cancer, don’t care if Aboriginal people or not, but I do care.
I’m going to tell you my story.
About 6 months ago, It was one Sunday afternoon. I was feeling really tired and fatigued and my body was telling me there’s something wrong with me.
I’m very lucky that I work at an AMS, Aboriginal Medical Service, at Gallen Bella.
This is my workplace. This is where I was diagnosed with my cancer in June this year.
So I went upstairs. I had a complete health check by my doctor, took a blood test, and on Friday I found out the bad news.
I was diagnosed with cancer in the liver and the bowel.
When you get diagnosed with cancer and you get a life expectancy of 12 months or time frame, it just hits home.
I just collapsed. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared.
All these things you think about, Oh, geez, I’m going to go to tell someone you’re going to die in 12 months or the time frame in 12 months. It’s it’s it’s unbelievable.
But it’s all about support.
It’s not about people feeling sorry for me.
Cancer is the number one killer in our Aboriginal people.
If you don’t have a screening or a blood test, you do not know you could be perfectly healthy.
There’s a lot of our people are scared and they’re ashamed to go that next step. But if you don’t have this test, whether it’s 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months.
Especially for Aboriginal men, we need to have screening at the hospital campus.
The nurses there, the doctors, the treatment has been fantastic.
They have supported me through my journey, through chemo, whatever treatment, whatever support services that I need.
But our people need to know this. There’s people out there that can help you.
We also need to raise the awareness out in the Aboriginal communities. I want to see my children grow, grow up and I want to see my grandchildren.
You need to have health screening. Go and see your doctor. If you don’t feel well.