Tony Breinl, Volunteer – Community Speaker Program

My name’s Tony Breinl, and I’m a volunteer speaker with Cancer Council NSW. I give presentations on cancer prevention, detection, living with the disease, support for others with cancer, and on palliative care.

I volunteer with Cancer Cancer because I received training and support in my chosen field of medical science from the community in my earlier days, and I guess it is a feeling that I can make some form of return by sharing the knowledge I have acquired. Professionally, I was a hospital scientist in Haematology for the 40 years of my working life. For the last 10 years of those I was responsible for looking at blood films under the microscope to diagnose diseases including leukaemia, the white blood cell form of cancer.

What I enjoy most about volunteering is sharing my knowledge with groups of people, and the extended discussions after the sessions. There is a huge need among the general population for more information on cancer. I’m proud and excited that feedback from session participants indicates that for the first time they really have a grasp on cancer, and “˜can I please come back?’.

I have a real sense of accomplishment being involved in Cancer Council’s mission. Absolutely. The information I can provide on prevention and early diagnosis resonates with all participants. When my friends ask about me volunteering at Cancer Council, I say, “Go for it. The need is enormous.

There are all kinds of volunteer activities available at Cancer Council, and your input would be invaluable.” I stress this at the talks.

Apart from my Cancer Council activities, I keep up with life. I have looked into Buddhism, do meditation, traveled to Ethiopia, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, for example, and keep in contact with locals I have met there. I have attended courses with WEA, Sydney University, etc, and in general stay connected with life. Doing my small bit to increase the general happiness of as many people as I can.