Celebrating our volunteers this National Volunteers Week
By Cancer Council NSW
This National Volunteers Week, Cancer Council NSW’s is acknowledging the volunteers that make up 80% of their workforce. Without the help of volunteers, Cancer Council would not be able to continue their work in life-saving cancer research, prevention, advocacy, support and information.
“When I first heard of Cancer Connect I thought it sounded like a fabulous service, now it is one of the most rewarding things I do with Cancer Council,” says Sharon, “It is a great way for people to share their own personal experiences with someone who understands. It gives people the freedom to react how they want to react with no judgement.”
Cancer Connect is a free and confidential telephone peer support service for people diagnosed with localised cancer and for those encountering survivorship issues. It is a chance to talk to a specially trained volunteer who has been through a similar diagnosis and experiences.
Programs like Cancer Connect mean that people do not have to face cancer alone. Sharon says that through her lived cancer experience she can help people learn what to expect, “When you are told you have cancer, your whole world changes, so to be able to provide comfort and understanding to people is so rewarding,”
Sharon speaks to people anonymously from when they are first diagnosed to their last days of treatment, “When I first speak to someone at the beginning of their cancer experience, they are so worried and concerned. There is a big difference to our last call when they seem so happy and thankful, it gives you the warm and fuzzies,” she says.
This National Volunteers Week, Sharon is reminding the community how impactful volunteering can be, “Cancer Council is such a great place to volunteer because you know the work you’re doing is helping people in many different ways. I get so much out of it! More than I could have expected,” she says.
“Some people don’t have support, Cancer Connect provides this to those who may feel abandoned or alone. If I can help them, even just to listen to them, which is often the case, they often say they feel so much better.”