Frances' Story

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Frances' Story


Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries means such a lot to me as anyone with a cancer diagnosis, family member, friend or anyone wanting to discuss a cancer issue can drop into their local library and ask for information. For some people dropping into a library to speak to the Macmillan volunteers is an easier option than opening up to family or friends.  

I have been volunteering with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries in both Dennistoun and Parkhead for two and a half years.

Having retired after a lifetime in the legal profession I needed something to keep me occupied.  Over the years I have lost friends to cancer and sadly I also lost three close work colleagues who were all much younger than me so what better way to honour them by working with Macmillan.  When I saw Macmillan's advertisement for volunteers to work within the Glasgow Libraries I knew this was the right thing for me to do.

Volunteering with Macmillan Cancer Support has taught me many things and also given me the chance to do ongoing workshops which helps me within the volunteering role in the libraries.  I have been working with the Macmillan Outreach Team in Boots at Glasgow Fort and New Stobhill Hospital and in doing that am able to encourage people to come into the libraries to discuss their cancer issues and advise them of the various organisations we can signpost them to.

Every time I finish my shift I feel uplifted by all the lovely and courageous people I have spoken to.

During my time with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries I have met some wonderful people, some with a cancer diagnosis, some wanting information, some just wanting to talk to take their mind off their cancer troubles. Every time I finish my shift I feel uplifted by all the lovely and courageous people I have spoken to. ​I also appreciate the support from the library staff who take a keen interest in what we are doing.

One incident that makes me feel especially proud to be part of the programme is the day a lady on a bus I was travelling on stopped me to say hello. After a short chat I introduced her to my daughter and the lady said to her "Your mother saved my life".  In truth I didn't - Macmillan did.  The lady in question was in a desperate state the four times she came into the library but it wasn't me who saved her life, it was Macmillan because they were there.  She could have gone to her GP, a hospital, phoned the Samaritans but she chose to come into her local library.  If Macmillan had not been in her local library the outcome could have been very different.

...the lady said to her "Your mother saved my life".  In truth I didn't - Macmillan did. ​

My own feeling about the Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries programme is that it has become successful for lots of reasons.  We are on the doorstep of many people with cancer issues.  Some people have never used a library in their life but having seen our posters in local chemists, health centres and shops they are now dropping in to see us. Many of the service users come back time and time again and have said how grateful they are that we are in the libraries as they have been signposted to many different organisations to help with their continuing cancer journey.  

The most unexpected thing for me about volunteering with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries is that when a service user who is obviously upset come in to see us we never know what to expect, on most occasions they leave a lot happier saying that they have been given much more information than they ever expected. 

The nicest part for me is when someone comes back (some regularly) either for more information or just to tell us how they are faring.

Three words that sum up my volunteering experience are: welcoming, empathy, uplifting.​​​

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