“Top Tips From The Experts”
Self-isolation is one of the key parts and stages of most cancer patients’ treatment, when their immune system becomes compromised. With most of the world now under sudden lockdown and forced to self-isolate, YCE’s own community of young cancer survivors has rallied together to share their own expert tips on how to best deal with self-isolation during this time, especially from a mental health perspective.
Andrea Ruano is a 28-year-old cancer survivor born and raised in Salamanca, Spain, and currently living in Manchester, where she works as a professional graphic designer, illustrator and photographer as part of a marketing team. She was diagnosed in 2007 (aged 15) with Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones. Since 2015, she has been an active patient advocate as a member of YCE, in which she’s also part of the communications team, contributing her talents to design and illustrate the organisation’s white paper which was launched in 2018 at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Andrea has been illustrating YCE’s top expert tips for the organisation’s social media pages as part of her volunteer work, as well as sharing one of her own.
Her tip has much to do with the importance of setting the boundaries between work and down time while at home. She strongly encourages people to set time aside to dive back into an old passion or discover a new hobby to take up – a bit of time each day that they can dedicate to just themselves and doing something that they genuinely enjoy. To that end, she’s dived back into an art form which she picked up while studying Fine Arts at university: embroidery. But with an added twist.
Tying back to her own experience with cancer, Andrea has been making bones – a recurring theme that was also the subject of an experimental art project she put together some time ago. Embroidery, she says, forces her to focus on something that completely switches her off from her work routine. It’s an art form that relies solely on the use of her hands and takes her away from laptops, phones, emails, conference calls and anything that isn’t purely analog. She finds it hugely relaxing and says of it that “it forces you to be present and in the moment… otherwise you risk messing up your hands!”