Our volunteers come from all walks of life and contribute to the organisation in a variety of ways.
Our quarterly newsletter, Volunteer Voice, regularly profiles volunteers from right across New South Wales. Sometimes there is not enough space in its pages to tell the ‘whole story’. So, some of the articles below follow on from the newsletter’s content, to give you further details on the profiled volunteers.
These stories give you an idea of people who volunteer for Cancer Council NSW. Find out what motivates and inspires their ongoing support.
Community Fundraising Communications Volunteer
Sarah talks to us about why she volunteers for Cancer Council.
What does your volunteer work involve?
- Preparing fundraising campaigns
- Brainstorming and developing fundraising concepts
- Copywriting for campaign materials including slogans, posters, information packs, letters etc
- Preparing designs or design briefs for campaign materials, including image research
- Researching potential sponsors
- Contacting potential sponsors
- General research
- Editing and proofreading materials
Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW?
I wanted to volunteer with Cancer Council for several reasons. Firstly, I think the work done at Cancer Council is outstanding, especially the support and information materials given to cancer patients. Secondly, a couple of our family members and several friends have been touched by cancer and I wanted to make a contribution back to Cancer Council. Lastly, I’m very keen to move into the not-for-profit sector and wanted to gain first-hand experience in a dynamic organisation such as Cancer Council.
I’ve lived in Sydney all my life aside from the four years I lived overseas in North and South America and Europe. I studied History and English at university. I’m a film history fan and I managed to persuade my professor to let me write my thesis about screwball comedy films and American society in the 1930s. It meant I was lucky enough to have to watch old movies for my homework!
I have 13 years’ experience in international illustrated book publishing. My background is project management and program management for books. However, I also have experience with concept development, editorial (commissioning text, author management, copy editing, copyfitting and proofreading), content management, presentation and catalogue preparation, image management (commissioning photos, illustrations and maps), picture research and print production. Until recently, I was Editorial Director at a co-edition publishing company here in Sydney, where I oversaw the publishing program. We produced beautiful, complex illustrated and photographic reference books in a range of subjects including architecture, gardening, anatomy, health, travel and history.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I particularly like the camaraderie with the Cancer Council staff and volunteers working together to produce campaigns which will raise funds to help Cancer Council make a difference in peoples’ lives.
What work have you done at Cancer Council NSW that you are most proud of or excited about?
We recently began working on a corporate sponsorship campaign with which I was involved from the beginning. It was rewarding to work with Anastasia and other volunteers to develop the campaign and to see it come together into something concrete. I was able to use my contacts in the book publishing industry to get a number of publishers to donate cookbooks as prizes for the campaign.
Do you get a sense of accomplishment from being involved in Cancer Council NSW’s mission?
Yes, absolutely. Especially as after several months of volunteering I could see the results of the work we’d done.
Do you feel personally rewarded by your involvement with Cancer Council NSW? How?
I feel like I’ve made a contribution and given something back to the community. It’s a rewarding feeling and that’s part of the reason I volunteered with Cancer Council.
What would you tell your friends about volunteering at Cancer Council NSW?
I’ve already told a few of them that it’s a great place to volunteer, the people are committed and passionate about what they do. They’re helpful and friendly, and they really appreciate the work done by volunteers. I tell my friends to volunteer at Cancer Council if they can.
What do you do when not at Cancer Council NSW?
I’m a freelance publishing consultant. I work with a variety of publishing and non-publishing companies. My projects vary from consultancy, editing and proofreading to picture research, concept development and proposal writing and more. I’m also a volunteer lifesaver at Bondi and I recently volunteered at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, which was very stimulating and great fun.
Something you are passionate about?
I don’t think I can pick just one thing. So here are a few.
I love the ocean and I’m a keen surfer and bodysurfer. I like to get up early and meet friends at the beach before work for a surf or a swim. It’s an invigorating way to wake up! I’ve seen some wonderful sunrises that make a beautiful way to start the day.
In winter, I enjoy skiing. I enjoy it a lot, and I spend a good part of the ski season in the Snowy Mountains where I teach skiing. It’s wonderful to be meet loads of new people and share their holidays and hopefully make their lessons good fun. Some of my family live near Jindabyne and get to spend time with them, which is lovely.
I’m mad about old movies, especially from the 1930s and 1940s. If it’s black and white or is all-singing, all-dancing, then it’s for me. I’m slowly brainwashing my family and friends into joining the old-movie fan club.
Jasleen Cheema is currently studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media at Wollongong University. While studying she is undertaking a Public Relations and Media Internship with Cancer Council Southern Region.
She is pleased that the internship on offer is a perfect blend of work experience and charity work. It allows her to help the community while also providing industry experience in the world of media.
“I am so appreciative of Cancer Council in letting me be involved with the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea media launch at the Nan Tien Temple. This was because it gave me great industry experience in what’s involved to organise an event from beginning to end. As a major bonus, seeing the joy in the guests’ eyes while talking to them gave me a great sense of accomplishment.”
Christopher Vollmer, “˜lucky’ guy
Since he was sixteen years old, Christopher has volunteered with Cancer Council NSW.
He began his volunteering career 10 years ago when he was “dragged along” to a Relay for Life meeting. Now he plays a vital role in his local Relay going ahead.
So much so that Chris, now twenty-five years of age, has bought a four wheel-drive vehicle to keep up with his community commitments. He has also acquired seven trailers to pick up and deliver the equipment required to stage Relay at Maitland Showground.
From “˜early days’ planning to site clean-up at the conclusion of the event, Christopher’s job as Logistics Coordinator is to ensure everything comes together and runs smoothly on site for the Relay weekend.
“Every year the logistics increase. I’ve got seven trailers at the moment to be able to pick up stuff – chairs, tables, marquees. I also book the ground with the council and mark out the track. I have someone to help me, because I just can’t do it all myself.”
Other times of the year, he can be found at local markets and shopping centres selling Cancer Council merchandise.
And that “luck” of his?
“Nobody in my family has had cancer, but being around those who have the disease makes me realise how lucky I am.
“Being part of this sort of thing has really changed my life and I look at life differently now.
“There are so many people out there battling cancer, and some are my age, and it just blows you away when you think about what people have to go through.”
Big Kev’s Big Heart
Kevin York – or Big Kev as he is known – works in the Logistics and Risk Unit at the Woolloomooloo office of Cancer Council NSW. Kevin is always happy to lend a hand wherever he can.
Kevin, who runs a newsagency on the Central Coast, began as a volunteer in 2004, shortly after his wife died of cancer, and following a chance meeting with NSW MP Frank Sartor, at the time assisting the Minister for Health. Mr Sartor told Kevin if he wanted to help raise funds for cancer research he should ring Cancer Council NSW. And Kev said, “Righto, I’ll do that! And here I am.”
“I come here every Friday. I make sure I fit this in. I love coming here – it’s marvellous place to work.”
“I believe by volunteering, it saves a wage, and that’s more money we can spend on research. That’s how I see it.