Maura's Story

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Maura's Story

Maura.jpg

Seven years ago my sister had extensive surgery for bowel cancer. She made a good recovery and started her chemotherapy within two months of the surgery. Her chemotherapy regime meant going to the Beatson for a day, every second week for six months. I accompanied her and soon realised something was 'missing'. Her medical treatment was excellent but I felt there was a void. This void was highlighted when on her annual scan screening check-up another primary tumour was detected. This time only surgery was required. The effect of this news seemed harder on the family (and my sister) than the first cancer. All went well and she returned to work and normal life.
 
 

I retired early from my job knowing that I would like to do something a bit different. I was standing in a queue in a supermarket when I spotted a poster looking for Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Volunteers. I took note of the phone number and phoned later on that week. After a very informal interview with staff I was accepted to go on the two day training course.

"She said that she now gets up every morning, puts the radio on and says life is good."

The course was more intense than I thought but challenging. I was placed in a library which I could get to easily. At first it was a bit daunting but I was always on with a more experienced volunteer and /or ISO until I gained some experience and confidence in my role. If need be there was always a manager at the end of the phone line if you got stuck!

 

The training is also enhanced with an on going training programme and development sessions. So apart from expanding your knowledge on what is involved you meet other volunteers AND have a laugh.

"she left us shaking our hands and thanked her for making her feel normal. For me it does not get any better than that.... "

I have been a Cancer Information and Support Volunteer for about one and a half years now. Most people you never meet again after the initial contact but I have had the pleasure of some people coming back just for a chat and keeping me informed on what has happened to them. Two ladies in particular have stuck in my mind.

My very first lady came in to see us about sorting out her life. She was in floods of tears. We referred her for counselling and about four months later she came back in to say hello and thank you. She said that she now gets up every morning, puts the radio on and says life is good.

Another lady came into the drop in point recently to see if we could help her. She was going through treatment for breast cancer and struggling to come to terms with her diagnosis. After signposting her to several areas she left us shaking our hands and thanked her for making her feel normal.

For me it does not get any better than that....

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