Having recovered from a very aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma – Burkitt – and the equally aggressive treatment, over thirteen years ago, I felt a strong urge to help others on a similar path and at the same time show my appreciation to those who had saved my life. Over the last thirteen years, this has taken many forms from fundraising and talking to schools to working directly with cancer patients as a buddy at a national and local level and supporting carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the initial steps of setting up a local support group, I became a Buddy, joined the Readers’ Panel and am awaiting training to become a Live for Life Facilitator. Last year, as an Ambassador, I represented Lymphoma Action at two regional conferences and met people across a range of backgrounds who wanted to learn about the work of this important charity. I was able to inform them about the disease and the range of services available to support patients through and after treatment.
Alongside volunteering for Lymphoma Action, I am also involved with my local hospital to help improve the wellbeing of patients including being a cancer buddy within the day unit.
Highlighting the contribution of volunteers to others through my activities provides a tangible expression of thanks to charities and the NHS that makes such a difference. Whether it is by applauding those who help us during COVID-19 or by volunteering, we can continue to help others and it is a positive way of saying “thank you”.