Hans Smiers

2008 was a terrible year for me and my family. Within one month I lost both my parents-in-law to cancer, and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I made a resolution not to let my wife grieve at three graves of her loved ones within one year. After my surgery in Gronau, I needed additional treatment, which brought me to the Netherlands Cancer Institute. After seven weeks of radiation treatment and hormone therapy, the issue was gone, which it still is to this day!

As strange as it may sound, the NKI always felt like coming home. The people treating me were always friendly; all appointments occurred on time; there was room for deep conversation, and so on. After the treatments, I got in touch with (ex) cancer patients and chronically ill people at my work with the police. We set up the platform for chronically ill police (PCP), which includes a buddy system. This is how I got in touch with the NGK, the Dutch Federation of Cancer Patient Organizations, which led to my choice to start volunteering.

I am happy with the opportunity to become a member of the Patient Council so I can use my knowledge and experience to help other people. This allows me to contribute as an experience expert. I no longer work and like to make time for my role on the Patient Council. I tend to be optimistic by nature and I like to always look on the bright side of things, although I never fail to acknowledge the more difficult side either.