Why did you decide to volunteer for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation?
As with most people, I decided to volunteer due to personal circumstances, through losing a family member, friend or relative. In my case it was my Mum but I've also lost my grandfather and a cousin to lung cancer. I just wanted to get involved, in a small way, to help the charity's goal. I was going to say help them 'fight the good fight' but that's another organisation's motto.
How long have you volunteered for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation?
I've been involved with the charity for about 2 and a half years although I'm sure it feels a lot longer for everyone I've met there.
Describe what kinds of things you have done for the charity?
I first started with the fundraising section, mostly doing word processing and also helping out doing mail shots. There were also a few occasions where I helped pack hundreds of promotional and information packs, which were sent out around the country. It's good to get the message out although after doing it I'd wake at three o'clock in the morning after having nightmares where I was chased by a 10 foot envelope! I also did a few collection days at local supermarkets and people were very generous plus it was surprising the number of people who'd tell you they'd lost friends or family members to the disease. Towards the end of 2013 I was contacted by Mel to see if I'd like to become involved with Fag Ends and I've been there ever since. I started off doing word processing plus gathering information about all aspects of smoking (quitting, health aspects, laws etc) and motivational quotes to be used on social media.
For the last few months I've been on the phone line, ringing people and updating the records on their attempts to quit smoking. I must admit to being apprehensive about this when first started but gradually it became easier. It's rewarding when people say they've managed to stop smoking, or have drastically reduced the number of cigarettes they smoke and often thank us for the calls as it encourages them.
What is your favourite thing about being a volunteer?
It's good to think you're helping, even if only in a small way. It's also inspiring when you hear the fund raising efforts that go on plus the training sessions or stop smoking courses that are set up around the country, with people from the charity travelling to organise them. On a personal level, it's always rewarding when you phone people who tell you they've been able to quit smoking or they say you've encouraged them.
But it's also good to be working with a great bunch of people.