REALSHARE is a new social network for young people with cancer, aged 16-25, who live in the South West.
It`s been created by a group of professionals who deal with young people with cancer, along with some of those young people themselves.
The site is supported by the Youth Cancer Trust, the ASWCS NHS Cancer Network, and the Teenage Cancer Trust and for the past couple of years, they`ve been involved in this very exciting and innovative project working with the NHS South West and a cohort of teenagers and young adults with cancer from the South West region.
The PROJECT was to develop an online social network to provide a secure and private space for young people with cancer to be with one another from the point of diagnosis. The first step of research was undertaken by Bath University’s School of Management, which evaluated the way young people communicate online and provided evidence that a site like this is needed, and wanted, by the young people.
The young people were involved in the design and development of the website from the start of the process.
The site provides forums, a unique chat facility called ‘realtime’ and information about cancer services, events and fun activities such as online games!
To REGISTER to use realshare, you need to be between the ages of 16 and 25 and living or being treated in the South West UK. All registrants require a patient number and will be verified by an NHS professional before you`re given a username and password to access the site. Follow this LINK to register now.
The site includes:
- Realtime – the social zone including My Shares and Forums
- My Shares – Status updates to let others know what you might be up to, or thinking about
- Forums – where members can share information, ask questions, or just chat with other people in a similar position to themselves. To facilitate discussions, for safety, and to ensure that members observe good Netiquette, they are moderated by a small number of trained staff
- Information – things members might find useful such as a description of the site and who the moderators are, an introduction to the treatment centres in the region, where to find support, and in future, articles on subjects relevant to members such as treatments and dealing with symptoms
- Useful Links - Other websites that members might find interesting or useful
- Partners - organisations working with us and supporting realshare (which includes MNINC!)
- Game Zone – a bit of light relief
- Contact - to get in touch with the moderators or web support team
There are three types of social support that people receive from another. These are: emotional, informational and instrumental (Cohen, 2004)
- Emotional support refers to the support that people give to make others feel loved and cared for (e.g. listening to a problem or positive encouragement).
- Informational support is when a person helps another by providing them with information.
- Instrumental support is providing tangential help (e.g. money, goods, and transport)
Studies indicate that all types of social support are important to well being. However informational and emotional support are particularly important for young people with cancer (Ishibashi, 2001) and adolescents frequently request these types of support from others (Elwell, Grogan & Coulson, 2011).
*Projects such as this are of vital importance, not just for offering treatment but also for creating peer support groups, offering unconditional acceptance and information whilst reducing feelings of isolation and rejection (Cassano, 2008; Treadgod, 2010, Weis, 2003; Ussher, 2006)