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Home > News > Dedicated decade of volunteering at cancer centre

Dedicated decade of volunteering at cancer centre

Posted on Wednesday 31st July 2013
Macmillan volunteers

Brenda Smith receives her award from Chris Platton, surrounded by fellow volunteers

A volunteer in the Cancer Information Centre at the Cumberland Infirmary has been recognised for 10 dedicated years of service.

Retired teacher Brenda Smith, of Carlisle, was presented with her Macmillan long service silver award by Director of Nursing Chris Platton, who thanked Brenda for all the hours she has devoted to supporting cancer patients and their families.

Brenda is one of around 11 regular volunteers who staff the drop-in centre, just inside the main entrance of the Carlisle hospital, offering non-medical advice, support or just a friendly face to anyone affected by cancer.

Carol Summers, Macmillan Information Manager, explained the value of the service. “Sometimes people affected by cancer don’t want to bother a health professional with their worries, and don’t like to burden their family members, so that’s where our volunteers come in,” she said. “A lot of our work is pointing people in the right direction – often people are looking for practical advice on things such as financial issues or holiday insurance. Others just want someone to chat to about their concerns.”

She praised Brenda for her dedication – the first person from the Cancer Information Centre to receive this award as the centre only opened in 2002. “Brenda is very good at helping, supporting and listening to people, and she is also in charge of our library and information displays,” said Carol.

Brenda decided to volunteer with Macmillan after both she and three family members had cancer in the space of four years. “I knew how important it was to have good support and I just wanted to give something back,” she explained.

She is keen to stress that she could not do her role without the support of her fellow volunteers. “We have a brilliant team who all pull together,” she said. “Sometimes if we have had a particularly traumatic case to deal with, we will phone each other to check we are okay.”

Even with a decade of service under her belt, Brenda has no intention of quitting any time soon. “I’m definitely going to continue – there will always be a need for this service,” she said. “Even if we only get one person in one day, it’s still worth it if we can give them the help they need.”

The centre is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and is always looking for more volunteers. To find out more about joining the team, or about the services provided, call 01228 814283.