Local woman volunteers for Cancer Focus NI

Posted by
Friday, May 31st, 2019

Local woman Heather Eves has said that she got huge satisfaction from volunteering for cancer charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and has encouraged other people to sign up to help.

Cancer Focus NI, which is celebrating its 50th year, says a big thank you to all their wonderful volunteers for all the invaluable work that they do as part of Volunteer Week, 1 – 7 June.



Heather has been a Cancer Focus NI family support volunteer for the last eight years, helping parents who have been given a terminal cancer diagnosis to leave messages, stories and letters for their loved ones to read in the future.

“As a parent there is a powerful drive to protect and nurture your child,” she told Newry Times.

“The realisation that you are not going to be there to do that is almost intolerable. Yet with support and some structure, a mum or dad can do far more than they ever thought they could, and there can be both relief and comfort in that,” Heather said.

“I visit a parent in hospital, at their home or in the hospice and work with them one to one, helping them talk about the things that are important to them and important to their children.



“The conversations are recorded and then I transcribe them. The benefit of this method is that when the parent checks it over they say ‘It sounds just like me’ and they accomplish far more than they ever thought they could. 

“With the addition of their photographs, I usually make a book for them, a treasure book for their child. Sometimes the lack of time or circumstances mean we can’t create a book so sometimes it’s a letter,” she explained.

Volunteering has been a massive part of Heather’s life for many years. “Volunteering is just part of life. My first volunteering role was when I was 14.

“There was a flu epidemic at the time and I heard on the radio that lots of nurses were off sick, so I went to Bangor hospital and asked if I could help,” recalled Heather, who later trained as a nurse.



She added, “Volunteering enlarges your world and brings perspective to it. Do something you have an interest in or feel passionate about. Or just start and you’ll find a passion along the way.”

Jade Knowles, volunteer coordinator for Cancer Focus NI, said, “Cancer Focus NI thank all their amazing volunteers who, like Heather, support their work and help them to bring their vital services to cancer patients and their families across Northern Ireland.

“Our charity has been helping people for the last 50 years and there is no doubt that we couldn’t do our important work without the support of our volunteers. We have lots of different roles from administration, driving, fundraising, street collections and much more.

“If you have a few hours a week or month spare, please think of joining our dedicated team and help people at one of the toughest time of their lives,” Jade added.



As well as caring for cancer patients and their families, Cancer Focus NI also provides a wide range of cancer prevention services, funds locally-based research and advocates for better health policy.

For more information about volunteering please contact Jade on 9066 3281 or jadeknowles@cancerfocusni.org or visit www.cancerfocusni.org/volunteer

If you have concerns about cancer, speak to a specialist nurse on the Cancer Focus NI free NurseLine, 0800 783 3339.



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