What does it mean to be an advocate? Put simply, an advocate is someone who speaks up for or writes in defence of a cause or another person. It is easy to associate advocacy with public protests and highly charged social and political topics. It is also easy to assume that advocacy is only for people who are powerful and influential — the prospect of “regular people” being advocates may seem daunting. But advocacy is much broader than this. At its core, advocacy is about supporting something you believe in. It can be anything, from recommending a television show to a friend to sharing thoughts on climate change. In both instances, whether it is an opinion on entertainment or the environment, you are advocating for something. Being an advocate is about speaking up, and anyone can do that.
It all starts with a passion, a belief — and a willingness to share that belief with others. Sharing and connecting with others, finding support and engaging in meaningful dialogue can take many forms. If there’s one thing that effective advocacy is not, it’s solitary. Being surrounded by people who are passionate about the same things you are, supporting each other and working toward a common goal is invigorating. Our voices are loudest when put together.
It’s easy to think, “I’m not a doctor, what do I know?” What do you know? You know a lot. No one knows your experience or the feelings you have better than you do. As an advocate, you’re leading by example and speaking on behalf of countless others with similar experiences who cannot speak for themselves.
Everyone matters. Every experience is valuable. Every experience is unique. You matter. Your experience matters, and your voice deserves to be heard. This is your chance to be a part of making the changes you want to see.
The CMA is dedicated to supporting patients across Canada and fostering a strong sense of community, by elevating their voices and strengthening their calls to action. For the medical profession to thrive, patients need to have a platform to speak and be heard. Let’s work toward meaningful change — together.