Help us to stop bowel cancer

Our volunteers

Bill Rodham, awareness volunteer, Scotland

“I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006 and got the 5-year all clear in 2011.  By that time I’d retired from work, but felt I needed to do something constructive with the spare time I had on my hands.  I hadn’t heard of Bowel Cancer UK at that time, but I saw the name on a volunteer website and it just leapt out at me. I enjoy meeting a wide range of people in various settings.  Without exception, I’ve found them to be welcoming and appreciative of the work done by Bowel Cancer UK. A lot of organisations run “healthy lives” projects for their employees and our talks seem to fit in well with these. In the public sector I’ve visited a lot of fire stations, civil service offices and medical practices.  I’ve also given talks at private firms, from the small to the very large.  It’s the little things that are often the most rewarding.  For example, several people have come up to me recently and shared some personal experiences or ‘confessed’ that they’d never taken part in the bowel screening programme, but they now intend to ask for a kit and send it in.  It’s good to think that by just giving up a little bit of my time, I could possibly have motivated someone into doing something that could have a major impact on their life.”

Mairead Mageean, awareness volunteer, Northern Ireland

“I wanted to do something that would utilise my existing skills and that involved something that I feel passionate about.  My husband died from bowel cancer before he was fifty and I am very keen to raise awareness of the disease particularly in younger people who can make changes to their lifestyles and make a difference to their health. I particularly enjoy the interaction with groups when they ask questions and discussions open up.  Some people share their personal experiences which can be very sad as well as inspirational.  I also enjoy the buzz that you get when people seem to have got something from the presentation.  I particularly remember a Fire Service Watch Commander telling me that he knew that the crew would go off and have a discussion about the presentation at the end of the shift. I have met a wide group of people ranging from firefighters to residents in retirement homes.  As a recent retiree I believe volunteering keeps me up to date with developments in research into health issues and bowel cancer in particular.” 

Sally Kayat, health promotion volunteer intern

“As a Nutrition graduate, I was aiming to increase my knowledge about health promotion, public health and the relationship between nutrition and bowel cancer. Bowel Cancer UK is the UK’s leading bowel cancer research charity which is the best place to seek knowledge and experience. I enjoy working along some great and ambitious people, in addition to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere around the office. I work closely with the health promotion team and I meet people from different backgrounds when I deliver the awareness programme in community centres."

Tarryn Severn, fundraising volunteer

“My best friend sadly passed away in December 2012 at the age of 31. As I was there when she was diagnosed and a part of her life while she bravely battled bowel cancer, I know how destructive it can be.  I like the fact that I am helping raise money and awareness for a cancer that is still considered taboo for some people. I find that people don’t like to talk about it, or they become embarrassed (like my friend was) and I really want to try and break down those barriers by helping out where I can, I feel like I am making a difference.  My favourite volunteering role that I do is during the Pizza and Pasta Awards where I work with some of the Bowel Cancer UK team to raise money through donations and the raffle Knowing that I have hopefully helped people by sharing my story, raising awareness or just collecting money that will be put to good use makes me feel proud to be part of such a fantastic organisation.”

Bob Wells, office volunteer

“My interest in raising awareness of bowel cancer stemmed from my experience, at age 60, of the benefits of the NHS bowel screening programme, and the experience of a relative. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in his late-30's and at a late stage because he was unaware that his symptoms required investigation. Through the screening programme, I had six polyps removed.  A consultant told me that without screening and the straightforward procedure to remove the polyps, bowel cancer would have developed within a few years. Late diagnosis in my relative's case meant the disease was life threatening and required major surgery.  Iwants to help raise awareness of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer - and how the risk of getting the disease can be reduced - among people from a range of backgrounds. Volunteering, which started with helping out with the admin for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, now involves identifying organisations interested in receiving awareness talks and being part of a team that delivers those talks. I find making contact with people in the community, and working with the dedicated and committed team in the office is fun as well as being rewarding.”