I became a volunteer for Pseudomyxoma Survivor following my own diagnosis of this rare appendix cancer. I was 42-year-old busy wife and mum running a household and working full time as a GP and Associate Medical Director. My life was full of busy. I’d volunteered as governor at my children’s school for years and enjoyed using my knowledge and skills from the NHS to help run a small local school. I found volunteering hugely rewarding.
After my diagnosis, life changed dramatically. I found myself as the patient rather than the doctor and quickly upskilled myself regarding my rare diagnosis. I found huge support online with fellow appendix cancer and PMP patients and appreciated how important small charities are for people with rare cancer. When Pseudomyxoma Survivor sought out new Trustees to help support the charity, I didn’t hesitate to offer my time. My ongoing stage 4 cancer diagnosis means I can’t continue my beloved career, so volunteering allows me to utilise my knowledge and skills thereby continuing to achieve my key value in the life of help others. I became a doctor because I wanted to make a difference and I hope I continue that theme by supporting the charity.
I’m also keen to show my children that volunteering your time and energy is important and that despite my medical retirement I’m not giving up on my values. Giving back through fundraising activities and events gives me purpose and enables our charity to grow and support people with pseudomyxoma peritonei all over the world.
Our time is a very precious gift which we can give to others and volunteering is a fabulous way to share this gift.
Volunteer and Trustee
More volunteering stories
My first event was on a conference stand in Paris for two days, when I tried very hard to avoid saying “pseudomyxoma” as I did not know how to pronounce it!
I was more than happy to become a volunteer admin, remembering how important I found the reassurance of the woman I spoke to before my surgery and the help and support I received from the group after it.
To be able to chat with others and offer just a tiny virtual hug or an emoji smile can make all the difference. It did for me at a very scary time.