How did you first get into volunteering with CRUK?
I have been diagnosed with cancer twice, and my sister and my dad have been diagnosed too. After my first diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma, I knew that I wanted to do something to help but I wasn't sure what. I signed up for Race for Life and I filled out the form saying I would be happy to help raise awareness as a media volunteer. I had been pregnant when I was diagnosed and I had not heard of this happening to others so wanted to give hope to others in a similar situation. The first thing I did was to help promote that Race for Life in the local newspapers and it went on from there. I helped with a fundraising leaflet that went out at Christmas and was always happy to consider opportunities to give a quote or use a picture when the team called.
What other campaigns have you helped with?
When I was diagnosed again, I wrote a blog about my treatment, which reached a lot of people who were going through a similar journey and it made me even more determined to do whatever I can. I even took part in a project to have an artist paint my head while I was going through chemotherapy! I have helped with social media posts and climbed Scafell Pike with CRUK to mark the Jubilee in 2012. And I have supported the Stand Up To Cancer campaign - last year my daughter and I went to London for a photoshoot and my story was used throughout the campaign. As part of this, I was interviewed for a podcast and did some filming as part of a thank you message to some of the supporters - I really hadn't been sure about being filmed at first, but I have done it a few times now!
How did you hear about Your Involvement Network?
I think I saw something on social media to start with - I saw it was a different role to the media volunteer one, and was interested to hear about ways to influence and shape CRUK's work. Sometimes it is reviewing materials or filling out surveys, and you can pick and choose what you have time to do. Giving the perspective of patients is so important as part of so many different projects - I have learned a lot while doing it and I am pleased to be able to give this input in a constructive way; I feel that my comments and input are really valued.
Are you involved in any other ways?
I am also on CRUK's Volunteering Advisory Panel too and I do quite a bit of running too. I did the marathon for CRUK in 2015 which was an amazing day with an incredible atmosphere. And it's fun to be on a cheering point too - I have been going along to the CRUK cheering point for the Cardiff half marathon for the last few years. We all go along as a family and it's always fun, whatever the weather!
I do it all because I feel so incredibly fortunate to have survived twice and want to do my bit to help this be a reality for others. As well as that I am inspired and motivated by the stories of other volunteers.