When Tracey first got in touch with Breast Cancer Now, it was as a participant on the Younger Women Together course. Over the years, she began volunteering herself, and now works as a member of our team! 

Two women, Tracey and Helen, stand side by side smiling at a Breast Cancer Now event

My experience of Breast Cancer Now’s services made me want to volunteer 

I was motivated to volunteer for the charity after attending a residential Younger Women Together event back in 2011. At the time, I had finished most of my active treatment, but was still having targeted and hormone therapy, and was awaiting further surgery.  

Looking back, I can see how lost I was – with no confidence, and really no idea how I was going to navigate my way back to any sort of normality.  

The volunteers at the event were incredible. One of them, Penny, sat in on the reconstruction session with us. She was a few years past her own diagnosis and treatment, which was really reassuring. Meeting someone who had walked a similar path gave me such a boost.  

Her reassurance was amazing, and prompted me to volunteer myself the following year. I thought to myself: if she could do it, maybe I could too?  

It was a privilege to help others through their treatment 

Since then, I have volunteered for several years for Breast Cancer Now in a number of different roles: Someone Like Me, Younger Women Together, Moving Forward, as well as some amazing fundraising events.  

Volunteering helped me to see how far I had come, and my work with the Someone Like Me service holds a special place in my heart. The team were amazingly supportive, and my confidence began to return.  

As a Someone Like Me volunteer, you can support some people right through their diagnosis and treatment. Helen was one such service user.  

Helen and I spoke every couple of weeks or so, and it was such a privilege to be with her as she navigated her way through treatment, side-effects and - like many people - the other events that life can throw at us. Her tenacity, warmth and humour shone through, and I remember towards the end of her support encouraging her to think about volunteering herself.  

Volunteering helped me become ‘me’ again 

Attending my first Younger Women event as a volunteer, rather than a service user was incredible, and is a milestone I will never forget. I was made to feel part of the team immediately, and it was clear from the start how much the role of the volunteer, with our personal experience and perspective we bring, is valued.  

My volunteering also provided me with a great deal of training, giving me many transferable skills. When a vacancy came up in the Sheffield office, I plucked up the courage to apply for it and joined the team as a member of staff in 2015!  

In 2017, I joined the Community Support Services team working on our Moving Forward courses and Living with Secondary Breast Cancer services. For me, volunteering has been part of the process of finding ‘me’ again, and helped me to make sense of my experiences.  

It has been a chance to use my experiences in a positive way and make a real difference. I feel so proud of my work as a volunteer, and so grateful for the support and encouragement I received for the services teams. 

There are so many different volunteering opportunities at Breast Cancer Now 

I would really encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering to just go for it.  

Both the Volunteer Hub and our individual teams are really good at making sure that the role is right for you, that it's the right time for you to volunteer, and are always happy to talk to you about different opportunities and what is involved in a role.   

There is so much that you can do, and different things can suit you at different times. I have been lucky enough to work with our volunteer Penny over the years; she and so many of our volunteers continue to inspire me personally and within my role.  

Meeting Helen for the first time at our recent Regional Volunteer Event in Sheffield was a very special moment, and one that I will treasure, and makes me feel so grateful to be able to be part of a group of people - volunteers, facilitators, and staff, all working together to make such a difference. 

 

If, like Tracey, you are interested in volunteering with us, we'd love to have you on board. There are so many ways you can help out, and we appreciate every bit of help we can get.

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