I was keen to find a volunteer role suitable for me. Being a volunteer advocate for Macmillan-Impetus Cancer Advocacy appealed to me because I’m social-work trained and I have a lot of experience and skills to offer.
My Mum died of cancer. I saw how difficult it was for her to live with a terminal diagnosis. Fortunately she had a supportive Macmillan nurse. I have a feeling that I was not there for my Mum as much as I could have been. It was overwhelming at the time. Being a volunteer advocate for people affected by cancer is a fitting thing to do in my Mum’s memory.
One of the key abilities I use in the role is patience. Compassion and curiosity are also qualities I bring. Coping with agencies can be bewildering and intimidating. My client really appreciates the support. I’m calm and realistic, looking at what can be achieved.
My client likes to chat. She trusted me from early on. I was clear about my role and what an advocate can and can’t do. I asked what she wanted and that was a constant thing we returned back to. One day I went to visit her and she wasn’t at home. I found out she was in A&E. I managed to find her and I contacted her family which was important to her.
Having a daughter with Down’s syndrome, helping empower people and find their voice when they are not being heard is very important to me. A lot of the time people don’t know what choices they have. Being an advocate is a good example of how the community can support each other.
Thank you Matthew for your wonderful advocacy work, your experience and dedication are much appreciated and you’ve certainly made a difference.
Could you be a volunteer like Matthew?
Find out about Impetus’ volunteer vacancies.