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Not Alone

08th October 2019

We all share a common empathy and humanity, and no one sparks those instincts more effectively than MacMillan Cancer Support 

The practice of translation rests on two presuppositions. The first is that we are all different: we speak different tongues and see the world in ways that are deeply influenced by the particular features of the tongue that we speak. The second is that we are all the same; that we can share the same broad and narrow kinds of feelings, information, understandings. Translation is another name for the human condition.

David Bellos

Do we all share a common understanding? Every day we see evidence of common empathy and humanity. People who’ve never suffered from an illness can reach out to those who do and offer them comfort. For 108 years MacMillan Cancer Support has built bridges to those who need that comfort the most. One in four people with cancer in the UK must face it without family or friends to help them. MacMillan’s army of staff and volunteers combat this every day.

Over the past decade MacMillan’s “Not Alone” campaign has succeeded in conveying the message that no one needs to go through the trauma of cancer alone. At the same time, the annual MacMillan Coffee Morning, inviting supporters throughout the UK raise money by selling cakes in their homes and workplaces, has generated steadily increasing revenue. The 2018 event raised almost £27 million and this year’s efforts promise to top it. Leading the way are Instinctif Partners, an international communications consultancy with offices in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America & the Middle East. Their Oxfordshire office is bringing local businesses together to raise money today. Instinctif pride themselves on being global leaders in reputation, influence and communication. Today they are using their reputation, influence and communication skills to raise money for those who need it most. We find that admirable and we’re proud to lend our support.

No one should have to face illness alone, and in an increasingly multicultural United Kingdom, reaching out to those in need often involves communicating in languages other than English. Forty nine main languages have at least 15,000 speakers each. Eight per cent of residents in England and Wales of school age and above have a main language other than English, and one million UK households have no residents with English as a main language. London is, not surprisingly, a diversity champion. More than 300,000 people living in the capital can't speak English. In Oxford, almost 24,000 people have a main language other than English. At 16% of the local population, that’s double the national average.

Illness can be isolating and cruel, and when that isolation is compounded by a language barrier it can seem insurmountable. Clarity of communication, in any language, is crucial.

David Bellos, a gifted linguist whose literary translations are works of art in their own right, sums up the human condition with typical eloquence. We are all different, but we can all share the same feelings, however broad or narrow.

People who think they have no one to turn to can find support when they need it most, thanks to the vigilance and selfless commitment of our charity workers. Thanks to MacMillan and to companies like Instinctif Partners who support them.

Not forgotten and not alone.


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