“I just want to help stop this terrible disease.” – Kevin York

26 November 2019 | Cancer Council NSW

When Kevin’s wife was in hospital for cancer treatment in 2003, he wanted to help others going through the same thing. So, he started volunteering at our head office in Woolloomooloo. As he puts it, he’s saving a wage, so more funds can go towards cancer research and support services. 15 years later and he’s still coming in once a week!

We couldn’t do the work we do without generous volunteers like ‘Big Kev’. In recognition of his outstanding service over the years, we’re proud to announce that Kevin is our Volunteer of the Year 2019!Kevin with Cancer Council NSW CEO Jeff Mitchell

Read on to learn what Kevin thought of winning the award and why he’s volunteered with us for so long. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, too, we’d love to hear from you!


What did it mean to you when you won the award?

Kevin: When I saw the resumes of all the other people I thought “I don’t have a chance!”. So, it was a huge surprise to me. But let’s put it this way: Volunteers don’t do things to get thanks, you know? But it’s nice to be recognised. I feel very humble in accepting it.


How long have you been volunteering at Cancer Council NSW?

Kevin: My wife had cancer and died in 2003, which is why I started volunteering here. I’ve been here 15 years now and I’m still as keen as ever. I still look after the biscuits for the girls. I’m now 80 years of age but I’ll do it until I can’t walk, I think!

I just love the social aspect of volunteering. When I come into Cancer Council, people often come up to me to introduce themselves and tell me that they’ve seen my video. It’s a nice feeling.


Kevin with Cancer Council NSW CEO Jeff MitchellWhat makes Cancer Council NSW such a good place to volunteer?

Kevin: When my wife first passed away and I was going through bereavement, the people at Cancer Council NSW made me feel so welcome. They didn’t know they were doing that, it’s just the way they were. And, even as staff have come and gone, everyone’s been so friendly. There’s just a lovely culture here.

And I feel like I’m making a difference here. I still think about my wife when I come in, and her experience motivates me every day. She had cancer in the oesophagus, you see, which is generally a cancer that affects smokers and drinkers. But she didn’t have a smoke or a drink in her life. I just want to help stop this terrible disease.


What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

Kevin: I’d recommend them to come here. No hesitation! Just come and give it a go. When I’m helping somebody else, I forget about my problems and that makes me feel good. And there’s just a fantastic culture here.


Thanks again to Kevin for his immense contribution towards a cancer free future. Looking to volunteer with Cancer Council NSW? Learn more about how you can get involved.