After losing her grandad to cancer in 2010 and seeing her cousin Georgie dying of the disease, Penny decided to fight cancer as a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador. This enabled her to overcome her feeling of helplessness whilst also building on her interest in politics.
Recently Penny has been influencing her local council around the Don't Quit on Us campaign, which is focusing on saving successful Stop Smoking Services. She also has been discussing the importance of tackling childhood obesity with her MP as part of the current Junk Free TV campaign. We caught up with her to find out what she has learnt through these actions and what keeps her motivated to beat cancer sooner.
What keeps you motivated to continue volunteering as a Campaigns Ambassador?
The results we get, and the difference we are making, inspires me to continue with the role. The other campaigns ambassadors' inspire me greatly. I am always hearing stories about people suffering from cancer, and these stories always inspire me to do more with the charity.
What skills do you feel you've developed through volunteering? How useful do you feel these will be in the future?
I've developed public speaking skills; I've passed a course in Talking about Cancer; I've gained knowledge of the disease, as well as how cancer is a political issue as well as a health one. I have developed more compassion and more communication skills. Being a Campaigns Ambassador helps me in everyday life as it gives me a more compassionate side to dealing with people.
What would you say to people thinking of becoming a Campaigns Ambassador?
I would tell people considering becoming a Campaigns Ambassador that it will change your life in a positive way. You will be exposed to inspiring people; you will learn things; you will become a powerful tool for the charity and really feel like you are making a difference to the world around you. You will develop the bug for volunteering and expand your social circle, as well as your knowledge, skills and experiences.
What does beating cancer sooner mean to you?
Beating cancer sooner means that I will hopefully not have to lose any more loved ones to this horrific disease. Having watched six relatives succumb to the disease, I live in fear of another loved one being diagnosed. This is a major drive for me to continue to work with the charity to beat cancer sooner.
What three words would you use to describe your volunteering experience?
Life changing; Inspiring; Worthwhile
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